Of the estimated 26 million women worldwide who play the beautiful game, today we can reveal the names of an elite group of 336 individuals set to defend the colours of 16 national teams at the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007, which runs from 10 to 30 September.
Silvia Neid, coach of reigning champions Germany, has put her faith in a enticing blend of youth and experience. Half of her current squad helped lift the Trophy at USA 2003, while youngsters of the calibre of Anja Mittag, Simone Laudehr and Fatmire Bajramaj bring a breath a fresh air and the determination to scale the heights once more.
Visit the teams' pages (on the right-hand side) to view the official lists in full.
Of course, Neid can also count on the exceptional talents of Birgit Prinz, voted FIFA Women's World Player in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The clinical front-runner, who took both the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe to go with her winners' medal at USA 2003, will be keen to repeat her feats this time around. Casting covetous eyes at those awards is Brazilian genius Marta, Prinz's successor as World Player in 2006. Auriverde fans have pinned their hopes on the Umea star, and her near-telepathic understanding with lethal forward Cristiane, to inspire the Canarinha to victory on Chinese soil.
Fans of the host nation, meanwhile, are expecting big things from striking sensation Ma Xiaoxu, a revelation at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship Russia 2006 and now a key figure in the senior side under Swedish coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors. Russia 2006 champions Korea DPR, the first Asian winners of a FIFA Women's event, can count on several members of that title-winning squad, including Kim Kyong Hwa, Kim Ok Sim and Ri Un Hyang, in their bid for another world crown.
Alongside all these new faces will be a significant number of veteran performers. Leading the way as regards experience are the United States and evergreen midfielder Kristine Lilly, shortly to make history in China as the only player to appear at all five editions of the showpiece event. Joining Lilly in The Star and Stripes' squad are no fewer than eight of her fellow Olympic gold medal winners from Athens 2004, while the USA have reached the podium at all four FIFA Women's World Cups thus far. Will they make it five out of five in September?
Another traditional powerhouse of the women's game, Sweden, have had to endure an injury-plagued build-up to China 2007. Coach Thomas Dennerby needs key figures Lotta Schelin and Victoria Svensson to reproduce their best form, while livewire forward Hanna Ljungberg should be fit to lead the line despite suffering a serious injury setback in June. Her importance to the team cannot be understated, the influential striker firing ten goals to top the scoring charts in the European Qualifying Zone alongside Danish hotshot Merete Pedersen, also set to appear in China.
Scandinavian counterparts Norway can call upon just one member of the team that swept all before them at Sweden 1995. Keeper Bente Nordby, a veteran of 165 international appearances, will be the voice of experience in a young squad boosted by the return of midfield visionary Solveig Gulbrandsen.
For the latest team news, big-name interviews and all the action as it happens, look no further than FIFA.com, the official site of the FIFA Women's World Cup.