The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 doesn’t kick off until July 20, in Australia and New Zealand, but many are already feeling confident that the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) has that coveted trophy in the bag—not just because of the team’s track record, roster of incredible talent (hello, Alyssa Thompson), or how much we all really love them, but because one highly reliable predictor has just pointed in Team USA’s favor.
Before each World Cup, the video game company EA Sports runs a virtual simulation to attempt to forecast the winner of soccer’s most important tournament—and for the past four go-rounds, that prediction has proved correct. Predicting World Cup winners isn’t the only area in which EA Sports FIFA’s high-tech fortune-telling has proved eerily accurate. Before the men’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar last winter, its virtual version of the matches also allowed the company to predict that Lionel Messi would take home the Golden Ball for being the tournament MVP. This, very memorably, did happen. Arriving at these predictions involves a method and a bit of madness: To predict the winner of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the company had to simulate all 64 of the tournament’s scheduled matches. And the results are in: EA Sports foresees the US facing off with Germany in the final game and then winning it 4-2, once again taking home the title of World Cup champions.
That’s a prediction we’re obviously on board with, but we don’t need a high-tech video game simulation to give us confidence that the USWNT will dominate its upcoming matches—we can just look at real life. The team has won its last two World Cups, in 2015 and 2019, and holds four titles in total. Not to mention we’ve come to expect nothing less than fearless pursuit of victory from the team that sued US Soccer in 2019 over pay discrimination and, after a drawn-out face-off, ultimately won in 2022. Under the new agreement, National Team players in the US pool and equally divide their winnings—which means sharing a cut of USWNT wins with the men’s team and also giving the women’s team access to the larger men’s prize pool. Case in point: Should the USWNT win the World Cup again in 2023, they’ll take home a reported $7 million—a little more than half of the $13 million the men’s team would earn just for making it to the top 16. And as Becca Roux, executive director of the USWNT Players’ Association, explained to Glamour last year, this pool-and-split plan applies only if both teams qualify for the World Cup. If the same model had been in place during the last World Cup cycle, when the USWNT won and the USMNT failed to qualify, the women’s team would have kept all of their winnings. The US women’s team’s fight prompted at least five other countries to reach equal-pay deals with their own national soccer teams.
Petra Guglielmetti is a health, wellness, and beauty journalist who taps into a broad network of experts to write in-depth service articles for leading publications, including Glamour, Health, Real Simple, and Parents.
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