6 Young Asian Stars to Keep an Eye On Ahead of 2023 Women’s World Cup – Featuring Vietnamese Player

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has recognized a Vietnamese player as one of the most promising young talents for the upcoming 2023 World Cup.


The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has listed Nguyen Thi Thanh Nha as one of the six young Asian stars to watch at the upcoming 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, VOV reported.

According to the AFC, the competition’s debutants preparations for the 2023 World Cup saw them take on World No. 2 Germany in a friendly last month. The well-organised Southeast Asian team, despite going down 2-1, put on an impressive showing against the formidable opponents, Thanh Nha scoring the team’s only goal of that game.

Vietnames among 6 Young Asian Stars to Watch at 2023 Women’s World Cup
Thanh Nha (second from left) is among six young Asian stars to watch at Women’s World Cup 2023. Photo: AFC

The website noted that Thanh Nha was touted as the next big thing in Vietnamese football and was part of the squad as the country qualified for their debut World Cup ahead of Thailand and Chinese Taipei. She was also on target as Vietnam defeated Myanmar 2-0 to win gold in the Southeast Asian Games earlier this year.

Moving forward, the AFC is excited to see what will come next for the young player at the upcoming Women’s World Cup 2023.

Having recently scored against one of the giants of women’s football, the 21-year-old striker will be keen to replicate her performance at the World Cup where Vietnam have been drawn in a tough group featuring two-time defending champions the United States, as well as the Netherlands and Portugal, the AFC wrote.

The highly-anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 is now just days away from kick-off and the tournament will once again provide a perfect stage for some of the world’s most exciting players to showcase their talent in front of a global audience.

The hope is that the upcoming edition of the tournament will witness new stars from the continent emerge as they look to make a name for themselves on the global stage, according to the AFC.

Others to feature in the list of six young players to look out for at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup include Mary Fowler of Australia, Shen Mengyu of China, Aoba Fujino of Japan, Casey Phair of the Republic of Korea, and Isabella Flanigan of the Philippines.

Mary Fowler – Australia might be just 20 years old, but she is already heading to her second FIFA Women’s World Cup with Australia. The Cairns native made her international debut at the age of 15 years and 162 days and her stock has only risen in the ensuing years as she went to the 2019 World Cup and then made a mark at the 2020 Olympic Games.

The then 18-year-old scored a stunner in extra time to help the Matildas defeat Great Britain 4-3 and reach the semi-finals of the Olympics and was also on target in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™. At international level, she has earned 36 caps and scored nine goals, while a year ago she signed for one of the most ambitious clubs in the women’s game in Manchester City.

While Fowler got no game time at France 2019, she is now a key member of the Australian forward line and may benefit from the fact that much of the focus will be on teammate Sam Kerr.

The first-ever Chinese woman to play professional football in the United Kingdom, Shen Mengyu is heading to her first World Cup with the Steel Roses following a stellar season in Scotland where she helped Celtic win the Women’s Cup by defeating Rangers 2-0 in the final.

Shen made her historic move to the Scottish side from Shanghai Shengli in 2021 and helped Celtic win their first-ever league and cup double during her debut season. A versatile midfielder who can play in central and wide positions, she creates scoring opportunities for her teammates and also has a knack for scoring herself.

Former champions Japan head into the 2023 edition with two of the brightest prospects in women’s football. Both 19 years of age, Maika Hamano has impressed on loan at Swedish side Hammarby from Chelsea while Aoba Fujino has had a breakout season with NTV Beleza in the Japanese top flight WE League, the AFC wrote.

Fujino scored 17 goals in 28 appearances for her club side during the 2022-23 season, including in the final of the Empress’s Cup where her side defeated INAC Kobe Leonessa 4-0 for a record 16th title. Ikeda will be hoping for more of that magic from the youngster as Japan looks to return to the summit of women’s football in 2023.

Born in the United States to an American father and a Korean mother, 16-year-old Casey Phair is set to become the first mixed-race player, male or female, to represent Korean Republic if she features in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup where are pitted against the former champions Germany, Morocco, and Colombia in the group stage.

Phair’s form for the Korean U-17s impressed head coach Colin Bell who named her in his hugely experienced World Cup squad despite the teenager not making her senior debut yet. The striker, who could also become the youngest player ever at a FIFA Women’s World Cup, is the joint-top scorer in the 2024 AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers with five goals.

18-year-old Isabella Flanigan has managed to make herself indispensable in head coach Alen Stajcic’s plans for the Filipinas.

Born in the United States, Flanigan has already racked up plenty of experience with the Philippines during her fledgling senior international career. She was part of their squad for the most recent AFC Women’s Asian Cup, AFF Women’s Championship, and the Southeast Asian Games.

Vietnames among 6 Young Asian Stars to Watch at 2023 Women’s World Cup
Vietnamese forward Hai Yen. Photo: VNA

Meanwhile, the world’s largest football news website GOAL has picked Vietnamese forward Hai Yen as one of the top 50 players to watch at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, according to VNA.

GOAL said despite not scoring in the Asian Cup 2022, she certainly played her part as Vietnam achieved qualification for the Women’s World Cup for the first time, playing all six matches as they decisively beat Thailand and Taipei (China) to secure a ticket.

“The 28-year-old is a key danger woman for the defenses of the US, the Netherlands, and Portugal to keep an eye on,” it added.

Yen is now one of the most experienced players and also one of the top goal scorers in the Vietnamese women’s national team. She has earned 76 caps for the national team and scored 42 goals, averaging less than two matches per goal for the national team.

As scheduled, Vietnam will face the defending champions the US in their opening match at 8 am on July 22. Later, they will play against Portugal at 2:30pm on July 27, and against the runners-up Netherlands in the final match of the group stage at 2pm on August 1.

Hannah Nguyen