5 Players to Follow in the Women’s World Cup

3 minute read

The 2015 Women’s World Cup kicks off Saturday in Canada. Though the United States is searching for its first championship in 16 years—and likely its last chance before star Abby Wambach retires—the team faces a tough road to victory. The U.S. is in the so-called group of death, which includes Sweden, Australia and Nigeria. All three teams are capable of besting the Americans.

But regardless of America’s chances, the world’s best women’s players promise plenty of good play. Here are five players to watch during the tournament.

Abby Wambach (U.S.A.)

Wambach, a TIME 100 honoree, currently holds the record for most international goals scored by any man or woman in the history of soccer. At 35, she’s the leader of the American team. Off the field, she was a leader in the effort to prevent the Women’s World Cup from being played on turf fields. She and other players argued that turf is more likely to cause injury than grass and that the issue was one of gender equality: men have never been asked to play on turf in a FIFA World Cup.

Alex Morgan (U.S.A.)

As the youngest player on the national team, Alex Morgan was the breakout star from the 2011 World Cup. And in 2012, she stole a chance to compete in the Olympics gold medal game from Canada, scoring a late game-winning goal that lifted the U.S. to the final round and, ultimately, the top of the podium. Now at 25, a bone bruise in her left knee has kept striker Morgan from playing in Team U.S.A.’s last three games. America’s chances depend heavily on her health.

Marta (Brazil)

Marta Vieira da Silva, commonly known as Marta, was named the FIFA World Player of the Year an astounding five years in a row from 2006 to 2010 and is arguably the best women’s player ever to walk on the pitch. She’s commonly compared to Pele but still has yet to win a World Cup of her own.

Nadine Angerer (Germany)

Angerer is the No.1 goalkeeper on the No. 1 ranked team in the world. At 36, this will probably be her last World Cup. In 2011, the team was crestfallen when they lost in the semifinals to Japan. But if anyone can lead a team to the title, it’s Angerer: In 2007 when Germany last won the World Cup, she did not allow a single goal in in six games.

Christine Sinclair (Canada)

The home team’s best chance at winning is Christine Sinclair, who has scored the third most international goals in the history of women’s soccer (behind Wambach and American legend Mia Hamm). Sinclair and her fellow Canadians will be looking to avenge their loss to the Americans at the 2012 Olympics.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com