Players to watch at the Women's World Cup

Here are the names to watch - and a couple that you won't get to see - in France this month for the Women's World Cup.

The Women's World Cup starts this weekend when hosts France face South Korea in Paris; Australia kicks off its campaign against Italy on Sunday night (AEST).

The biggest stars in the women's game - with just a few exceptions - will line up for the event, expected to be the biggest festival of women's sport the planet has ever seen.

WHO'S THERE

Eugenie Le Sommer (Forward) and Amandine Henry (Midfield) France

Captain Henry is the heartbeat of the team and Le Sommer leads the line. Together, the Olympique Lyon pair will aim to fire France to their first World Cup, emulating their men's team from Russia last year.

Alex Morgan (Forward) and the American dream team

Morgan is the superstar, but what a support act. Megan Rapinoe is a deadly asset. Mallory Pugh is rising through the ranks. Cristen Press and Tobin Heath have proven class and then there's Carli Lloyd, who like Morgan has over 100 international goals. Oh, and that's just the USA forward line. The team to beat.

Alexandra Popp (Forward) Germany

A two-time German footballer of the year, Popp arrives in France after a prolific campaign for German champions Wolfsburg. Popp, 27, is a key player for a national team unbeaten in a year.

Sam Kerr (Forward) Australia

Sure, the Matildas have other threats but the 25-year-old captain fantastic is central to Australia's hopes of a deep run. Kerr has 23 goals in 27 international appearances and should add to that tally in France. Even when not scoring, her high press is crucial to Australia's hopes.

Marta (Forward), Formiga (Midfield) and Cristiane (Forward) Brazil

With a combined age of 108 and 15 World Cups between them, this trio knows what it takes. Formiga will become the only player to play at seven World Cups when she makes it onto the pitch; Marta has won more individual awards than any other female footballer and Cristiane has an incredible goalscoring history.

Lucy Bronze (Defender) England

Plainly the best fullback in the world, although her versatility could see her utilised in several roles, Bronze will aim to fire England to their best-ever women's World Cup result this month. No need to question her credentials, her middle name is quite literally 'Tough'.

Kim Little (Midfield) Scotland

Australian fans need no introduction to Little. Her one season in the W-League was magnificent, featuring prominently in Melbourne City's 100 per cent winning season; the only one in Australian domestic history. She's since reunited with then-City boss Joe Montemurro to win the English league with Arsenal.

Christine Sinclair (Forward) Canada

A living adornment to the game, Sinclair has featured at national team level for two decades - scoring in each year. With three goals in France, the 35-year-old will become the game's all-time greatest international scorer.

Vivianne Miedema (Forward) Netherlands

Miedema is another Arsenal title-winner featuring in France; she won the English league's golden boot and followed that up with a lethal strike against Australia in their friendly win on the weekend. One part of a feared attacking trident with Shanice van de Sanden and Like Martens.

Ji So-yun (Midfield) South Korea

The creative Chelsea player was central to getting South Korea to the World Cup and will be a big part of how her country fares. The Matildas know all about her talents; Ji was the only player to breach Australia's defence in the March's Cup of Nations.

WHO'S NOT THERE

Ada Hegenberg (Forward) Norway

The game's best player has opted not to play for her side in France, protesting her federation's treatment of female players. She has warm support across the game for her stance, yet few are brave enough to make such personal sacrifices to make their point.

Pernille Harder (Forward) Denmark

The woman voted as the best player in the world by newspaper The Guardian was unable to get her country, Denmark, past Sweden and the Netherlands to qualify. Harder top-scored in this season's European Champions League but joins Hegenberg on the sidelines.


AAP