The 2023 Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 kicks off on Thursday, July 20 with New Zealand facing 1995 winners Norway at Eden Park in Auckland. PUNCH Sports Extra’s Johnny Edward highlights the oldest players making an appearance at this year’s tournament
Onome Ebi, 40 (Nigeria)
Nigeria’s 40-year-old defender, Ebi, will be the oldest participant in Australia & New Zealand 2023. Ebi is set to become the first female or male African player to feature at six World Cups. Brazil great Formiga is the Women’s World Cup oldest-ever player – the midfielder was aged 41 years and 112 days when she played in her nation’s round-of-16 clash with tournament hosts France four years ago.
Tochukwu Oluehi 36, (Nigeria)
A veteran of three World Cups, Oluehi is set for another bow Down Under on Friday. The goalkeeper was in goal when Nigeria lost 3-0 to Norway at Auguste Delaune Stadium in Reims, France at the last edition and will hope to add to her number of appearances at this edition.
Vanina Correa, 39 (Argentina)
The goalkeeper and mother of nine-year-old twins, Correa made her Argentina debut in 2003 and represented her country at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Correa, however, retired from football after Argentina failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup but was persuaded by coach Carlos Borello to return in 2017.
At the 2019 World Cup, she won acclaim for her performance in Argentina’s 1–0 defeat by England in Le Havre. She made six saves, including a penalty kick from Nikita Parris.
Caroline Seger, 38 (Sweden)
Swedish midfielder Caroline Seger is set for her fifth Women’s World Cup at the age of 38. Seger struggled with injuries since last year’s European Championship but has proved her fitness to Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson in her latest comeback for Rosengard in May. She has played in every World Cup since 2007. Sweden are among the title favourites and are drawn in Group G with Italy, Argentina and South Africa.
Noko Matlou 37, (S’Africa)
Matlou is a legend of African women’s football, having been one of the few players that have won the coveted Confederation of African Football Women’s Player of the Year award. She scored a brace for Banyana in her first game for the national team in 2020 when they trounced Zambia 3-1 and she’s also a CAF Women’s AFCON winner with Banyana Banyana.
The 37-year-old joined Spanish second-tier club Eibar two years ago on a one-year deal, and now the former striker-turned-defender will be making her debut at the World Cup Down Under.
Gaelle Thalmann 37, (Switzerland)
Having made over 100 appearances for Switzerland since making her international debut June 17, 2007, Thalmann will be making her first World Cup appearance at this year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
An anterior cruciate ligament injury ruled her out of the 2015 edition, but having featured at the 2022 European Championship, where Switzerland were eliminated after the preliminary round, Thalmann will aim to bow out of the international scene on a high. In June, she announced that she would retire after the World Cup.
Fabienne Humm 36, (Switzerland)
Humm is a late bloomer who made her national team debut 10 years ago. She holds the record for the fastest hat-trick in Women’s World Cup history, after she struck three goals in five minutes in Switzerland’s 10–1 drubbing of Ecuador at the World Cup.
In October 2022, Humm scored the decisive 2-1 extra-time winner over Wales in the 2023 World Cup playoffs that sealed the Swiss spot at the tournament only for the second time ever.
Interestingly, despite playing at the highest levels — World Cup, European Championships and the UEFA Women’s Champions League — Humm never gave up her full-time job in a logistics company.
Aivi Luik 38, (Australia)
Luik is the oldest player in the Australian squad. The veteran is making her second World Cup appearance after being overlooked by former coaches Tom Sermanni and Alen Stajcic for the 2011 and 2015 editions.
She was a member of the Matildas squad that won the 2010 AFC Asian Cup – but did not take part in another major tournament squad for the following eight years.
Carol Sanchez 37, (Costa Rica)
The defender, who plays club football for Colombia’s Independiente, is competing at her second World Cup in Australia. She made her debut at the 2015 edition in Canada. She has 36 appearances for Costa Rica, scoring twice.
Megan Rapinoe 38, (USA)
Iconic forward Rapinoe is competing in her fourth Women’s World Cup, having represented the USA at the 2011, 2015 and 2019 editions and helping the USWNT win the last two World Cup titles.
The 38-year-old, a strong voice in women’s football, has 199 caps over 17 years and will become the 14th US footballer to reach 200 caps when she stars against Vietnam, at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday.
Monica 36, (Brazil)
Monica is famous for the wrong reason, scoring a controversial own goal against Australia at the 2019 World Cup, which ensured Brazil lost their first group stage match in 24 years at the competition. She has 42 appearances for the Samba Girls, scoring six times.
Marta 37, (Brazil)
Brazilian Marta will be aiming to extend her record as the tournament’s all-time leading goalscorer. The superstar forward 17 goals at the competition and is primed to compete in her sixth World Cup. She is aiming to become the first player to score in six editions of the showpiece event but will have competition from Canada’s legendary attacker Christine Sinclair, who is also aiming to strike in a sixth global final.
Park Eun-sun 36 (S’Korea)
One of South Korea’s most prolific strikers, Eun-sun will be making her second World Cup appearance Down Under.
She has 20 goals in 46 games for the senior team. The Koreans will be banking on Eun-sun to get off to a winning start when they face Colombia in their opener July 25.