Liverpool get their Women’s Super League season underway next Sunday with a trip to London to face Arsenal, with the Reds having welcomed back several players who were involved at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand during the summer.
As shown in ExpressVPN’s blog post, worldwide interest in women’s football is ever-growing, with a record number of countries participating at the 2023 finals, which drew unprecedented figures for attendances and TV audiences.
A few members of Matt Beard’s squad were at the tournament Down Under, and ahead of the WSL campaign kicking off, we take a look back at the LFC players who represented their nations on the global stage over the past couple of months.
The 24-year-old played in all five of Japan’s matches at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, starting four times as her country reached the quarter-finals.
She helped her side to a 100% record in the group stage, playing the full 90 minutes in their 5-0 win over Zambia and coming on as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat of Costa Rica.
Her team’s highlight of the finals came at the end of the group as they thrashed eventual champions Spain 4-0, with Nagano restored to the starting line-up.
The Liverpool midfielder then got one over on a future teammate (more of which later) as Norway were seen off in the round of 16, but her tournament came to an end in the last eight as Japan lost out 2-1 to Sweden, who ultimately finished third.
The Liverpool captain had the honour of playing in Republic of Ireland’s first appearance at the Women’s World Cup finals, and despite Vera Pauw’s team exiting at the group stage, they acquitted themselves commendably on their tournament debut.
Th 35-year-old was ever-present for her country, who began with a narrow 1-0 loss to co-hosts Australia. The Girls in Green took a surprise lead against Canada in their next game, but fortune deserted them yet again as their opponents came from behind to triumph 2-1.
Fahey and Ireland at least returned home with a point on the board as they held Nigeria to a goalless draw in their final group match. The African side repeated that scoreline against eventual runners-up England, who needed a penalty shootout to progress in the round of 16.
Sophie Roman Haug
The recent signing from Roma has already exhibited her deft finishing skills in Liverpool training, and prior to the transfer she made her mark at the Women’s World Cup for Norway.
She wasn’t called upon when they suffered a shock opening night defeat to co-hosts New Zealand but was then brought into the team for the goalless draw against Switzerland.
Haug’s team then needed to beat Philippines to keep their tournament hopes alive, and she helped them to do so in style, netting a hat-trick in a 6-0 win.
That took them through to face Nagano’s Japan in the round of 16, where the 24-year-old forward’s involvement ended as her side were beaten 3-1.
The goalkeeper was a member of the Australia squad which reached the semi-finals but unfortunately didn’t get any game-time at the finals, having been unable to displace Mackenzie Arnold.
Not even the Matildas’ participation in the third place play-off, usually a fixture in which lesser-seen squad members get a runout, could open the door for the Liverpool stopper to play in a World Cup co-hosted by her country.
It was a shame that Micah didn’t get to feature even once at the finals, but she can be forever proud to have been part of a group of players who captured the hearts of an entire nation for an unforgettable month.
Shanice van de Sanden
The Netherlands forward came on as a substitute in the 2019 World Cup final but could only make her country’s provisional squad for this year’s edition.
She travelled to the tournament as a reserve, with FIFA rules allowing teams to replace players for medical reasons up to 24 hours before their first match at the finals if required.
However, Van de Sanden wasn’t called upon at the 2023 finals, with her country defeated by eventual champions Spain in the last eight.