The Women’s World Cup 2023 Golden Boot race could be fascinating with a huge number of very talented goalscorers heading to Australia and New Zealand.
While there will be some notable players not at the tournament – for example, Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner Beth Mead is unlikely to make it, and nor will two-time Women’s Super League Golden Boot winner Vivianne Miedema – there are plenty of others who will feel like they could help fire their country to both individual and national glory.
So who will be hoping to win the Women’s World Cup 2023 Golden Boot?
Women's World Cup 2023 Golden Boot: Sam Kerr (Australia)
Australia’s all-time top goalscorer and captain Sam Kerr will never have had greater motivation to show off her scoring prowess. Kerr is widely recognised as one of the best strikers in the world, and while there has been a perception that she has not been quite as free-flowing for Chelsea this season as she has in previous, she still finished the season with 29 goals.
The winner in this season’s FA Cup final and a penalty in the shoot-out against Lyon in the Champions League quarter-finals has also shown that she is at her deadly best in the most intense moments. She scored five times at the 2019 World Cup, narrowly missing out on the Golden Boot then.
Alex Morgan (United States)
Another player who just missed out on the Golden Boot in 2019 was the USA’s Alex Morgan.
Morgan scored the same number of goals as official top scorer Megan Rapinoe, including her famous tea-drinking celebration in the semi-final against England, but missed out on assists.
While many might have thought Morgan’s international career might have been on the wane (much like Rapinoe’s), her 15 goals in the NWSL last season won her the league Golden Boot.
The one thing that might get in Alex Morgan’s way? One of her own team-mates in the United States World Cup squad. The Portland Thorns’ Sophia Smith could feasibly get the nod to play as the USA’s starting striker having finished second to Morgan in the NWSL Golden Boot. Smith has already scored four goals in seven league appearances this year.
Alexia Putellas (Spain)
Astoundingly, the two-time Ballon D’Or winner Alexia Putellas has never scored at a World Cup. Yet having recovered from the ACL injury that ruled her out of Euro 2022, expect this World Cup to be her opportunity to remind everyone what they have been missing.
A lot has changed for Putellas since the last World Cup as she has ascended to superstardom within women’s football. She might not play as a striker but having scored 34 times in 42 matches in the season before her injury, she is no stranger to finding the back of the net, and the Spain team will be relying on her goals.
Alex Popp (Germany)
The Silver Boot winner at Euro 2022, Alex Popp’s goalscoring feats were remarkable as she scored in every match up until the final, where she was unable to play due to injury. Despite also scoring six goals, Beth Mead won the Golden Boot thanks to having more assists.
Many might have thought that Popp would be overtaken by Lea Schüller as the starting striker for the German national team, but the veteran has shown how deadly she can still be.
The only person on this list to have actually won the Golden Boot before, Marta picked up the honour in 2007 as a 21-year-old. She was the first footballer to ever score at five consecutive World Cups, and will be looking to become the first to do it at six in 2023. She also holds the record for the most goals ever scored at World Cup’s.
Marta has missed a lot of time out through injury over the past year or so, and there will be plenty of questions as to whether she is able to recapture her previous form for the Brazil World Cup team. But it would feel foolish to write her off.
Ada Hegerberg (Norway)
The former Ballon D’Or winner Ada Hegerberg missed the 2019 World Cup in protest at the way the Norwegian federation had treated the women’s team. However, having returned to the side ahead of Euro 2022, it was a disappointing return to international tournament football. Hegerberg failed to score in three group stage games as Norway made an embarrassing early exit.
Her troubles did not stop there though as she went on to miss the vast majority of this season through injury, having already spent 21 months on the sideline between January 2020 and October 2021.
Now they have brought in former Silver Boot winner Hege Riise to lead the Norway World Cup team, and with Guro Reiten and Caroline Graham Hansen either side of Hegerberg in a relatively simple World Cup group, she could fill her boots early.
Bunny Shaw (Jamaica)
Bunny Shaw has spoken about how overawed she felt at her first World Cup back in 2019. Qualifying for a historic second time with her Reggae Girlz, Shaw will be hoping to score her first goal at the competition.
She is coming off the back of a break-out season in England where she has led the race for the WSL Golden Boot all year at Manchester City. The 26-year-old has been average close to a goal a game and will be a handful for defences as part of the Jamaica team.
Rachel Daly (England)
Bunny Shaw has been pushed all the way by Rachel Daly in the WSL. The 31-year-old played at left back for England at Euro 2022 but joined Aston Villa in the summer as a striker, where she has played at club level for a number of years.
For anyone who had missed her in that role for the Houston Dash in America, she has been a revelation.
It is unclear whether Daly will start ahead of Alessia Russo in the England World Cup team. With Ellen White’s retirement and Beth Mead’s injury absence, Sarina Wiegman’s squad feels a little short on goal scorers right now. But Daly is certainly the in-form English No.9.
Pernille Harder (Denmark)
Pernille Harder will be making her World Cup debut with Denmark having not qualified for the competition since 2007. Harder, who recently announced that she would be leaving Chelsea after three seasons, has been out for a lot of this season after having an operation on her hamstring. But she has returned to football in devastating form, and has looked incredibly fit and fresh.
The Denmark team have a tough group that includes England but if they can get off to a good start, Harder could be in a real shot for the Golden Boot.
Barbra Banda (Zambia)
Admittedly more of a left-field option but don’t write off Barbra Banda just because of the country she plays for. The 23-year-old caught the world’s attention at the Toyko Olympics where she scored back to back hat-tricks against the Netherlands and China, writing her name into the history books.
Banda was forced to miss the Africa Cup of Nations due to her testosterone levels, with the Confederation of African Football having stricter rules than the Olympics. But she will be included back in Zambia’s World Cup squad and could be ready to put on another show.
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Jessy Parker Humphreys is a freelance women's football writer. A Chelsea fan, Jessy has been following the women's game since being taken to the 2003/04 FA Cup final at Loftus Road and seeing Arsenal thrash Jessy's local side Charlton. Fortunately, Arsenal don't win quite as much as they used to – although Jessy hopes Charlton will also be back at the top of the women's game one day.