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2023 Women's World Cup

The Over- and Underachievers of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage, by the numbers

Some teams got to the Round of 16 on luck. Some are going home for the lack of it. Here’s what the data says.

Patricia Pérez Ferraro / SPP

Has everyone caught their breath? 

It’s almost impossible to think of another FIFA Women’s World Cup that has delivered this amount of dizzying results, to-the-wire suspense, and unbridled joy from teams whose fates were inconceivable to everyone. The 32-team format has been an unbridled success, both for the opportunity it provided smaller nations to prove that they belonged, and for the utter chaos it unleashed on the final round of the group stage. 

Some teams had luck on their side, and made it to the Round of 16 by the skin of their teeth. Other teams played knockout-worthy football and still went home. Others may not have been on most folks’ radars to go through, but earned their place; still others were tipped to continue on but played themselves onto a plane home. And then there are those who came in as contenders, played well enough to deserve knockout qualification, but are running on thin ice in the next round. 

Here are 10 teams who fit one of those descriptions, and what analytics say about their performances in the group stage. 

Everything fell into place


  • Group F: Second Place
  • 5 points
  • 1.5 non-penalty xG
  • 4.1 non-penalty xG allowed

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the key to any possible success for the Reggae Girlz would be striker Bunny Shaw. The problem with a program that struggles with depth is that once teams know you have only one attacking weapon, they will seek to neutralize it. That’s what has happened with Shaw all tournament. Shaw scored no goals and generated only 0.1 non-penalty xG per 90 minutes in the group stage. She only touched the ball three times in the box, and took five shots. Jamaica’s lone goal in three games tells the story: contain Shaw, and you contain Jamaica’s attack.

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