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8 Amazing Moments Of The 2023 Women’s World Cup

From subtle acts of activism to historic first time goals, there was no shortage of incredible moments at the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

From subtle acts of activism to historic first time goals, there was no shortage of incredible moments at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

As the tournament, which broke attendance and TV records, comes to an end, take a look back at some of the most iconic moments that captured hearts around the world.

1. Players found subtle and creative ways around FIFA’s ban on rainbow and OneLove armbands to show support for the LGBTQ community

south africa Thembi Kgatlana rainbow undercut world cup
Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa celebrates after scoring her team’s second goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group G match between Argentina and South Africa at Dunedin Stadium on July 28, 2023 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana sported a rainbow undercut.

south africa Thembi Kgatlana rainbow undercut lgbt
Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa is seen in the tunnel with rainbow dyed hair prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and South Africa at Sydney Football Stadium on August 06, 2023 in Sydney / Gadigal, Australia (Photo by Maddie Meyer – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

And New Zealand’s Ali Riley painted her nails in the colors of the Progress Pride flag.

new zealand ali riley pride nails world cup
New Zealand’s defender #07 Ali Riley reacts after winning the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup Group A football match between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park in Auckland on July 20, 2023. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

2. Morocco defender Nouhaila Benzina became the first hijabi player in Women’s World Cup history.

Benzina, 25, wore a white religious headscarf during Morocco’s second match and first win in this year’s Women’s World Cup, a 1-0 victory against South Korea.

Previously banned for health and safety reasons, head coverings for religious reasons were later allowed by FIFA in 2014.

Benzina, who also plays for Moroccan club Association’s Sports of Forces Armed Royal (AS FAR), was selected as part of the starting line-up for the critical match with South Korea after its previous 6-0 loss to Germany.

The 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup also marked Team Morocco’s first appearance, making them the first Arab and North African nation to ever represent their country on the international women’s stage.

3. 16-year-old South Korean player Casey Phair became the youngest player, man or woman, to ever play in a World Cup

As a member of the South Korean national team, Phair entered play during the 78th minute in country’s first game in the World Cup on July 25.

This edged out the record was previously held by Nigeria’s Ifeanyi Chiejine record during her debut at 16 years and 34 days old in 1999 by just eight days.

Born in South Korea but raised in the US, Phair is South Korea’s first mixed race player.

Her mother is Korean and her father is American.

4. In a Cinderella story, Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz defied the odds to reach the Knockout Stages of the World Cup for the first time

jamaica reggae girlz women world cup 2023 celebrate
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 02: Cheyna Matthews and Tiernny Wiltshire of Jamaica celebrate after their team advanced to the knockouts during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between Jamaica and Brazil at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 02, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Alex Pantling – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The team was previously disbanded due to lack of funding and had to crowdfund their way to this year’s tournament.

jamaica women world cup 2023 celebrate brazil win
Allyson Swaby (1st L) of Jamaica celebrates after scoring her team’s first goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between Panama and Jamaica at Perth Rectangular Stadium on July 29, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Alex Grimm – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
jamaica win brazil women world cup celebrate 2023
Khadija Shaw of Jamaica celebrates qualifying to the knockout stage after the scoreless draw in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between Jamaica and Brazil at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 02, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Elsa – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

They beat out heavyweight Brazil to advance in just their second tournament appearance.

jamaica reggae girlz soccer football women world cup 2023
Jamaica players celebrate after her team’s 1-0 victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between Panama and Jamaica at Perth Rectangular Stadium on July 29, 2023 in Perth / Boorloo, Australia. (Photo by Alex Grimm – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

5. Australia’s Katrina Gorry celebrated the Matildas’ 7-6 victory over France by carrying her two-year old daughter Harper out onto the pitch.

australia katrina gorry daughter harper world cup
Photo via @katrinagorry10 / Instagram

6. Brazilian soccer star Marta gave a moving farewell speech about the importance of representation in women’s sports

One of soccer’s most decorated and distinguished players, Marta Vieira da Silva, gave an emotional farewell speech after Brazil was unable to advance out of the Group Stages during the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup.

This is the sixth and final World Cup tournament appearance for the Brazilian soccer star, known mononymously as Marta, who is widely considered one of the greatest women’s soccer players of all time.

In a press conference after the team’s 0-0 tie against Jamaica, Marta gave an emotional speech about her legacy and the strides women have made not just in soccer but across all avenues.

“Do you know what’s cool? When I started playing, I didn’t have an idol, a woman idol. You guys didn’t show any women games,” she said. “Today, when we go out on the street, people stop. The parents stop and say, ‘oh, my daughter loves you. She wants to be just like you.’ And it’s not just Marta, it’s other athletes as well. So today we have our own references. This wouldn’t have happened if we had stopped in the first obstacles we faced.”

At 37, Marta not only holds the all-time highest World Cup scoring record for women or men – 17 goals – she is also Brazil’s all-time record scorer, women or men, with 115 goals, as well as a two-time Olympic silver medalist.

Named FIFA’s World Player of the Year six times, she has participated in the World Cup for over three decades, making her first appearance in 2003 at just 17 years old.

Despite Brazil’s unexpected and earliest ever exit from the tournament, Marta urged people to keep watching and showing up for women’s soccer.

“I want people in Brazil to continue to have the same enthusiasm they had when the World Cup started. To continue to support. Because things don’t happen overnight,” she said.

7. As always, Japanese fans were seen cleaning up in the stands after the team’s games.

japan fan clean women world cup
Fans of Japan clean the stadium after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Japan and Norway at Wellington Regional Stadium on August 05, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
japan fan trash stadium world cup women 2023
Japan fans clean the stand after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Japan and Spain at Wellington Regional Stadium on July 31, 2023 in Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
japan soccer fans trash women world cup
Fans of Japan clean the stands after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Japan and Spain at Wellington Regional Stadium on July 31, 2023 in Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand. (Photo by Maja Hitij – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
japan fan cleaning stadium women world cup soccer
Japan fans clean the stand after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Japan and Spain at Wellington Regional Stadium on July 31, 2023 in Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

8. And Irish Captain Katie McCabe scored the first ever Olimpico goal – a goal scored directly from a corner kick – in Women’s World Cup history.

It was also Ireland’s first ever goal in its first ever appearance.

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