General Women's World Cup: the main results for Africa


After a poor start in which none of the four African teams were able to win their opening match, the continent has shown unprecedented success at the Women's World Championship held in Australia and New Zealand. For the first time in a World Cup, whether men's or women's, three countries have qualified for the knockout stage: Morocco, Nigeria and continental champions South Africa have all advanced.

Only Zambia remained, failing to qualify for the round of 16, but even they had cause for celebration as the debutants defeated Costa Rica 3-1 in their last group game to score their first World Cup goals, and also earned points. This victory meant that for the first time in the Women's World Cup, every African team won at least one match - echoing their male counterparts who did the same in Qatar last year.

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So, the main results for the continent.

Historic achievements for Africa​

Prior to this tournament, Africa has never won more than two matches at the Women's World Championships (a similar result was achieved in 1999, 2015 and 2019), but this 2023 figure has been surpassed, with five matches already won.

Perhaps surprisingly, it was not the experienced Nigeria that scored the most victories, but the team that started with a 0-6 loss (against Germany) - the debutants of Morocco, who recovered and scored two consecutive 1-0 victories against South Korea and Colombia.

The Super Falcons, meanwhile, became the first African team to go through the Women's World Cup undefeated. They left the tournament only after the defeat in the penalty shootout from England.

South Africa defeated Italy in a spectacular five-goal game to secure their first win, but like the Moroccans and Nigerians, they failed to win the play-offs, a hurdle the continent has to overcome.

Improve discipline and organization​

The basis for this Africa Quantum Leap at the Women's World Championships was an increase in focus on structure and discipline, a strong contrast to the past, when the continent's representatives were adversely affected by many problems.

When Morocco lost their opening match by six goals and Zambia lost 0-10 in two games, it seemed like the old story of African teams losing big - a familiar theme from the early 1990s - was being repeated again.

However, it soon became clear that a change was taking place - and it was evident not only from the fact that both teams recovered so well. During the highly anticipated Round of 16 match between Nigeria and England, the latter were struck by the tactical mind of Randy Waldrum, Nigeria's manager, and almost everyone agreed that the European team was very lucky to get through.

Kgatlana is one of the main stars of the tournament​

There have been many outstanding individual performances by African players, but none have raised the level of their team as South Africa's Tembi Kgatlana did.

Despite having missed most of last year with an injury and also suffered heartbreak during the tournament itself, she was in top form, scoring goals against Argentina and Italy and terrorizing the Dutch defense in the second round. Her speed, good timings and dribbling ability have helped the team on numerous occasions.

A goal and assist in a landmark match against Italy not only turned a potential early elimination into a record-breaking promotion, but will also go down in history as one of the most influential individual World Cup performances, cementing the 27-year-old's position as a player for big events .

Naturalization is a good thing​

One of Nigeria's brightest figures in Australia is defender Ashley Plumptre, part of a diaspora engagement movement that has embraced many African national teams.

The Super Falcons have several players born outside of Nigeria, including Plumptre, Michelle Aloisi, Ifeoma Onumonu and Tony Payne, all of whom have played a significant role in the team's success.

Nine-time African champions, however, are far from the only winners, as several players in the Moroccan squad were born in Europe, including midfielder Anissa Lamari, whose goal against Colombia secured the team a place in the second round.

While the success of this strategy is undeniable, it highlights the lack of investment in club football in the African arena - with the exception of Morocco, where around $20 million is invested in women's football over four years. It is necessary not only to invite ready-made players from outside, but also to create conditions for growth and progress within the country.