Unable to build on their progress to the prestigious tournament in 2019, unfortunately, Scotland will be an absentee at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Even so, it’s set to be a thrilling competition, pitting the best nations in the world against each other for the ultimate prize. So, which teams should neutral fans be watching out for Down Under, and what’s going on with the broadcasting rights?

Top teams and dark horses to watch at the 2023 World Cup

There are two very clear frontrunners for the FIFA Women’s World Cup: one would achieve a three-peat, while the other would mark a sweep of international tournaments. As anyone in the know will understand, placing a football bet on the US is a bet on the favourites at 11/4.

Should the USWNT triumph, they’ll be the first national football team to win the World Cup three years running. With the best shot of opposing them, according to the betting on Women’s World Cup outrights, is England at 10/3. Regardless of if England or the US finish first or second in their respective groups, their earliest meet is the final.

Below these top two teams, the odds get significantly longer, perhaps owing to the likely need to beat either of the top two in the knockout stages. Powered by Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí, who’re both rated among the top ten players in women’s football, per The Guardian, Spain at 6/1 are certainly top dark horse contenders.

Spain would meet the US as early as the quarter-finals if both progress from their groups. Hosts Australia are also coming in with some good momentum and world-class stars at 13/1. Sam Kerr is lethal in front of goal for club and country, boasting the kind of calibre that can decide close games and carry a team beyond their ranking.

As a Group B team, the Aussies could meet England in the Round of 16 if either team lands second in their group. After Euro 2022, France would join this selection of top dark horses to watch, but they’ll be without, arguably, some of their best players. Wendie Renard and Kadidiatou Diani pulled out.

How to watch the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Paisley

You may be surprised to know that the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup gets underway on 20 July, particularly because it’s been so minimally advertised in the UK. This is because the UK, as well as four other major European football nations, are yet to cement any kind of broadcast rights.

FIFA recently changed how it packages its World Cup rights by dividing the women’s and men’s tournaments. This has certainly been to the betterment of the women’s game, stacking up the prize pool significantly. However, bids from the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany have been underwhelming, per the governing body.

Those heading up the broadcasting rights bids are certainly erring on the side of caution – none want to overspend on the product – with the tournament’s location clearly being considered. Being in Australia and New Zealand, Played from UTC+8 to UTC+12 time zones, UK kick-off times range from around 2 am to 1 pm, which isn’t ideal.

That said, schedulers have seemingly tried to make at least England games more palatable for the fans back home. The 22 July (vs Haiti), 28 July (vs Denmark), and 1 August (vs China) group games kick-off at 10:30 am, 9:30 am, and 12 pm, respectively. The final (a 20:00 kick-off in Sydney, UTC+10) will be at 11 am in the UK.

Being a ‘crown jewel’ of British sports, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has to have free-to-air coverage, which will likely lead to the BBC or ITV eventually winning the broadcasting rights. In Paisley, hopefully, the games with more reasonable kick-off times will be on in a few places.

It seems inevitable that the UK will eventually settle the broadcasting rights dispute with FIFA. Once the channels are set, the World Cup will certainly be one of the most exciting events of the summer and a must-watch for football fans across the country.