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Women's World Cup: Five footballers you need to know about

A Germany fan watches the international friendly with Chile this week
A Germany fan watches the international friendly with Chile this week Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Lindsey Johnstone
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Ahead of kick-off on Friday, 7 June, who will be the biggest names on the pitch at the 2019 Women's World Cup?


With the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicking off in one week — hosted by France from 7 June to 7 July — we pick five footballers to watch out for.

Marta – Brazil

Marta scores in the penalty shoot-out against Sweden at the Rio GamesReuters

The all-time top goalscorer in Women's World Cup competitions is Brazilian superstar Marta – full name Marta Vieira da Silva, nickname "Pelé in a skirt," coined by the man himself – with 15.

At 33 years old, the Orlando Pride forward shows no sign of slowing down, having been named FIFA World Player of the Year last year for the sixth time, and five years in a row between 2006 and 2010.

Hailed as one of Brazil's most influential female public figures, Marta is the highest-paid female footballer in the world, carried the Olympic flag at the 2016 Rio games and was the first woman to have her footprint immortalised in cement at the Maracanã stadium in Rio.

Alex Morgan – USA

Alex Morgan (L) shoots against New Zealand midfielder Katie BowenReuters

The USA team is currently at the top of the world rankings and, with a record three World Cup victories under their belts, the defending champions are once again the favourites – and Alex Morgan is a big part of the reason why.

She was their top scorer in 2018, with 18 goals in the USA's 20 games, including a hat-trick against Japan. She finished the year with a career total of 98. She also won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the Women’s World Cup qualifiers, with seven goals over the five matches.

Co-captain of the USA team, Morgan is also a forward for Orlando Pride, has written a series of children's books about a girls' soccer team, was one of the first three women to appear on the cover of a FIFA video game (alongside Canada's Christine Sinclair and Australia's Steph Catley) in 2015, and the following year appeared with Lionel Messi on the cover of FIFA 16.

Erin Cuthbert – Scotland

Erin Cuthbert (R) in action for Chelsea, with Lyon's Amandine HenryReuters

Scotland's women's team have qualified this year for the first time, a feat the country's men's squad last achieved in 1998.

Needless to say the relative novelty of participating in a World Cup has got Scots talking about their prospects – and the name on everyone's lips is Erin Cuthbert, after the Chelsea striker scored a sensational goal against Jamaica last week in a World Cup warm-up match that saw Scotland win 3-2 in front of a record home crowd of 18,555.

Chelsea's current Women's Player of the Year, 20-year-old Cuthbert was nominated for the Professional Footballers' Association Women's Players' Player of the Year Award for the 2018/19 season, during which she scored in Champion's League ties against Paris Saint Germain and Olympique Lyonnais.

Sam Kerr – Australia

Sam Kerr celebrates her third goal in a 2017 match against JapanReuters

All-time top scorer in the United States' National Women's Soccer League, Australian Sam Kerr plays as a forward for the Chicago Red Stars and her national team (nicknamed the Matildas), with whom she made her debut at the age of just 15.

Winner of the Julie Dolan Medal as the best player in Australia in 2017, after having claimed the title of top goal scorer at the inaugural Tournament of Nations that year, she was also last year named Young Australian of the Year.

Steph Houghton – England

Steph Houghton celebrates winning the Women's FA Cup against West HamReuters

Captain at both England and Manchester City, Steph Houghton MBE (to give her her full title – she was awarded the MBE in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to football) has 100 caps for the former. The left-back scored the winning goal in a game against Brazil in front of a crowd of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in the 2012 London Olympics and earlier this month led Man City to a 3-0 victory over West Ham in the Women's FA Cup.

Houghton is a UEFA women’s football development ambassador and was the first female player to be on the cover of classic football magazine Shoot.

And one who will be notable by her absence...

Ada Hegerberg – Norway

Ada HegerbergReuters

Star striker for world-beating Olympique Lyonnais and the inaugural winner of the Ballon d'Or Féminin last year, 23-year-old Norwegian Ada Hegerberg is arguably football's current golden girl. However, she hasn't played for her national side since 2017, citing what she feels is a disregard for the women's sport in the country – so you won't be seeing her at the World Cup.

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