2023 Women’s World Cup: Colombia, South Korea, and Morocco play to join favorite Germany in knockout stages out of Group H

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World Cup
FILE – The United States players hold the trophy as they celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup final soccer match against The Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France on July 17, 2019. More prize money than ever will be awarded at this year’s Women’s World Cup, and the players stand to get direct payments from FIFA this time. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

The 2023 Women’s World Cup officially kicks off tomorrow, which means that today we have our final Group preview for you in Group H. Group H will include the nations of Germany, Colombia, South Korea, and Morocco. Germany is the clear favorite when it comes to winning the group, but there could be some surprises with the other three teams looking to make a shock for the second spot.

World Cup
FILE – The United States players hold the trophy as they celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup final soccer match against The Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France on July 17, 2019. More prize money than ever will be awarded at this year’s Women’s World Cup, and the players stand to get direct payments from FIFA this time. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

Germany: FIFA Ranking #2

Group Stage Games: 7/24 vs Morocco, 7/30 vs Colombia, 8/3 vs South Korea 

Germany will come into the 2023 Women’s World Cup as the second-ranked team in the world, and also as one of the favorites to win the tournament. The Germans have been in every single edition of the Women’s World Cup, winning two in their history.

They will be looking to make that a third in Australia and New Zealand, which would not come as a surprise to anyone. They have been a dominant force in women’s football throughout the years, showing that they could be a threat to any team at this tournament.

The key player for this German side in this tournament would be none other than captain Alexandra Popp. Popp is a dominant force both on and off the pitch for this team, and her presence alone will make her a huge part of this team if they want to be successful. In last year’s Women’s EURO 2022, Popp became the first player to score a goal in every group stage match, along with the quarterfinal and the semifinal.

Unfortunately, she would miss the final due to an injury, which Germany would end up losing to England. All in all, Popp is a massive piece of this German side, who will look to lead her team to the promised land. 

Germany open ups its World Cup group stage against debutants Morocco. This should be a comfortable win for one of the tournament favorites. Thye move on to their second match against Colombia. Colombia has a flare about them that could make the game tough. However, Germany should be able to combat that and get the job done.

Heading into their final match, Germany could be sitting on two wins and will take on a South Korean team that could need a win to advance out of the group. While that will give Germany’s opponent a sense of urgency, the German powerhouse will still be favored to win the game barring a whole lot of squad rotation!

World Cup
FILE – Wolfsburg’s Alexandra Popp runs with the ball during the Women’s Champions League final soccer match between FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg at the PSV Stadion in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Saturday, June 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

South Korea: FIFA Ranking #17

Group Stage Games: 7/24 vs Colombia, 7/30 vs Morocco, 8/3 vs Germany 

According to the FIFA Rankings, South Korea is the second-best team in this group, and they will be looking to prove that. This will be the fourth appearance in the Women’s World Cup for this South Korean side, and their third qualification in a row. They will be looking to show an improved performance from the 2019 World Cup, where they failed to pick up a single point and were eliminated in the group stage. 

The key player for South Korea will be one of the most experienced players in this team Ji So-Yun. She has the joint-most appearances for this South Korean side and is also their all-time leading goal scorer with 67 goals.

During the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, Ji scored five goals on only six shots on target, finishing only behind Sam Kerr for the most goals of the tournament. As South Korea looks to move onto the knockout stages, the midfielder will try to use her creative abilities in both the scoring and passing departments to benefit the squad.

To kick off their group stage, South Korea will take on a gritty Colombia side. This match could be very important to determine who makes it out of the group. Both South Korea and Colombia will look to dictate their style. Whoever can do so the best will likely win the match.

In their second game, South Korea will take on Morocco. Morocco will be hoping to make huge strides in this tournament, but if South Korea want any chance of making the knockouts they will have to win this game. The final match of Group G play, South Korea will take on the juggernauts, Germany. This game will be a difficult one for South Korea. If they are able to combat the physical nature of Germany, they may just be able to find points from this game.

World Cup
FILE – China’s Wang Shanshan tries to tackle the ball during the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 final match between China and South Korea in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)

Colombia: FIFA Ranking #25

Group Stage Games: 7/24 vs South Korea, 7/30 vs Germany, 8/3 vs Morocco 

This appearance for Colombia will be their third-ever appearance in the Women’s World Cup, with their last coming in 2015 where they reached the Round of 16. In the 2015 World Cup, they were able to earn their only win in World Cup history against France, but the Colombians will be looking to improve on that win total this year.

Their form has not been the best this year so far, only winning two out of the seven matches that they have played. Nelson Abadia will be looking to some players to help bring them back into form, with one player specifically being important for the squad. 

The key player for this Colombian side will be Mayra Ramirez, who plays for Levante in the Spanish Primera Division. Ramirez is coming off of an incredible club season, combining a total of 25 goal involvements (14 goals and 11 assists).

With these top performances, Ramirez was able to help Levante qualify for the UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification this upcoming year. She will be hoping that her club form will translate to her country, as Colombia looks to possibly make some surprises in the World Cup.

If they want to make that surprise early, then they will need to beat South Korea. Both teams will be hungry to get points early in a group that could be dominated by Germany. Colombia will face Germany in their second match in the group stage. This will be their toughest game, and it could be a real wake up call should Colombia want to make the knockouts.

If Colombia can find a way to take two wins or four points from their two matches it will go a long way. In their final match, Colombia will take on first-timers Morocco. While they will be favored Colombia cannot underestimate Morocco; if they do, then they will likely drop points.

World Cup
FILE – Colombia’s Linda Caicedo controls the ball during the women’s Copa America final soccer match against Brazil in Bucaramanga, Colombia, Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

Morocco: FIFA Ranking #72

Group Stage Games: 7/24 vs Germany, 7/30 vs South Korea, 8/3 vs Colombia 

The fourth and final team of Group H will be the lowest-ranking team in Morocco. They are the second-lowest-ranking team in this year’s edition of the World Cup and are also making their World Cup debut.

They were able to qualify for the tournament by finishing as runner-ups in the Women’s African Cup of Nations. While many may see Morocco as the underdog of the group, there is a chance that they could threaten either Colombia or South Korea in finishing second in the group. 

If Morocco are to make any surprises in their debut in the World Cup, they will be looking to rely on a few key players to lead them, but Rosella Ayane will be the main one. Ayane plays her club football at Tottenham, and originally played at the England youth level, before making the switch to Morocco for her senior team.

The 27-year-old can play all throughout the front three, and Morocco could use her versatility to their advantage. Whether it be creating chances or putting goals into the back of the net, Ayane is going to be a threat for this Moroccan side.

Morocco will have an uphill climb at this World Cup in their group-stage games. They start things off against Germany. Will this Morocco side shock the world by not getting blown out by a tournament favorite? If so then they may just begin a campaign to make it to the knockout rounds!

Their second match is against a South Korean side that is normally very organized. Morocco will need to take the game to South Korea if they want to possibly get points in this game. Morocco’s final match vs Colombia will be all about matching intensity. If Morocco can do that, then they could just find a way to make a Cinderella run to the Round of 16!

Don’t miss out on our other Women’s World Cup previews as well:

Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G

Be sure to return to Philly Sports Network for more on Women’s World Cup content

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Tim Lovenguth | Regina Ham | Paul Frenzel | Jimmy King | Liam Jenkins

Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Francisco Seco, AP Photo/Martin Meissner, AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, & AP Photo/Fernando Vergara.