With the Women’s World Cup smashing records left, right and centre, it’s fair to say that the explosive growth of women’s football isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

Stadium crowds at this summer’s tournament hit a total of over 1.9m fans, surpassing the previous record of 1.35m set in Canada back in 2015. Millions of fans also tuned in to follow the action on TV and streaming channels.

The final recorded the highest ever Spanish TV audience for a women’s football game with a peak of 7.4m viewers and 71.1% screen share. Their UK opponents drew in a reported peak audience of 14.4m.

So, with a massive increase in viewership, it’s no surprise there’s such a huge buzz around the tournament on social media.

But who got the most attention on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok?

We’ve compiled the Best XI of the tournament based on their social media engagements.

11th – Tamires (BRA)

Despite Brazil’s early exit, Tamires’ fun behind-the-scenes travel content with teammates and friends captured people’s attention and earned her a spot in the line-up.

Although her insights into life at the tournament performed really well, her most engaged with post was actually an emotional message to fans after a tough result saw her team leave the competition sooner than expected.

10th – Ella Toone (ENG)

The majority of Ella’s engagements came from TikTok (522k) but interestingly, her best-performing post was on Instagram.

Support poured in (154k engagements) on her post after England’s hard-fought semi-final win over Australia.

Much of Ella’s TikTok content consisted of amusing behind-the-scenes moments, such as pranking her teammate Alessia Russo at the beach or sharing clips of the many animals she encountered during her time down under.

9th – Asisat Oshoala (NGA)

Asisat has an impressive 1m followers on Instagram and they helped her reach 356.5k engagements on the platform.

Her best-performing post reflected on a controversial moment when she took her top off to celebrate a goal after becoming the first African to score at 3 different World Cup tournaments.

The celebration got mixed reactions and she admitted that her dad wouldn’t be happy (Asisat was born into a devout Muslim family) but the post perfectly captures her passion for the game.

8th – Alexia Putellas (ESP)

It’s interesting to see that despite having a TikTok account, Alexia didn’t post on the platform during the tournament. She still made the top XI, however, thanks to her 3.1m Instagram followers helping her reach 1.2m engagements overall.

Her best-performing post was – unsurprisingly – a photo of her celebrating with the World Cup trophy.

7th – Lucy Bronze (ENG)

The second Lioness to make the team, Lucy bagged an impressive 1.1m engagements on Instagram during the tournament.

Despite some people, perhaps unfairly, blaming her for England’s loss in the final, she’s had a lot of support on her own social media channels as can be seen in the comments of her best-performing post – a heartfelt message thanking fans after the defeat.

6th – Mary Earps (ENG)

From her penalty save in the final and winning the Golden Glove, to the lack of her shirts for fans to buy and her sometimes explicit outbursts on the pitch, Mary really got people talking throughout the tournament.

Her best-performing post was an Instagram carousel of heartbreaking photos following England’s loss in the final. In spite of the fact that a lot of her content related to action on the pitch, fans also showed their appreciation for her behind-the-scenes posts, e.g. showing off fancy coffees while at basecamp.

5th – Zećira Mušović (SWE)

Although both Mary Earps and Cata Coll made the final and put on some impressive displays between the sticks, neither managed to claim the title of goalkeeper with most engagements from Zećira.

Her high engagement is even more impressive when you consider that Mary has a following over 4x the size of the Swedish shot-stopper.

Zećira’s best-performing post was a post-match selfie with her 3rd-place medal.

4th – Fridolina Rolfö (SWE)

Fridolina has been giving fans an insight into life in the Swedish camp with TikToks that show off changing-room celebrations and entertaining antics on days off.

The post that gained most engagements was a TikTok of her team celebrating victory with pizza and beer (you can’t get much more relatable than that).

3rd – Sam Kerr (AUS)

Australia’s poster girl spent a lot of time on the bench at the start of the tournament while recovering from injury. That still didn’t stop her from recording an impressive 1.4m engagements on Instagram alone.

Her best-performing post revealed her raw emotions following the tough semi-final defeat to England.

2nd – Alex Morgan (USA)

Alex recorded a massive 2.8m Instagram engagements.

She is one of the biggest names in world football but the post that garnered the highest number of engagements wasn’t football-related at all. It was in fact an Instagram carousel sharing photos of her young daughter Charlie after she had arrived in New Zealand to watch her mum play on the world’s biggest football stage.

This just goes to show how much fans want to know the personalities of players and how they enjoy feeling a part of their lives – both on and off the pitch.

1st – Alisha Lehmann (CHE)

It comes as no surprise at all that Alisha comes out top of the social media engagements chart.

Her 24.7m followers across all channels makes her the most followed footballer of the World Cup. She racked up an astonishing 19.6m engagements on Instagram and 10 of her posts reached over 1m engagements.

Her best-performing post was a carousel of photos as she warmed up and engaged with fans.

The Swiss star’s social media performance is simply untouchable – 18.9m more engagements than the next closest player across all platforms.

Women’s World Cup most engaged paid partnerships

Paid partnerships with athletes are an excellent way for brands to connect with fans on social media. The top-performing paid partnership creatives from the Women’s World Cup are reviewed below by Redtorch Creative Director Matt Weiner.

Stina Blackstenius x adidas 

Women's World Cup 2023

Posted on the eve of the tournament, this very simple image speaks volumes about the excitement surrounding the Women’s World Cup.

The positivity expressed is far greater than merely adidas cheerleading the Swedish team. It’s about celebrating how far the women’s game has come, taking a moment to appreciate that the sport is no longer niche, but a global blockbuster. The elegant caption sums it up perfectly: “Our time”. 

Lucy Bronze x Nike 

Women's World Cup 2023

This Nike post delivers purpose with a punchline. England’s stars pose with Amelia Dimoldenberg, host of the interview series Chicken Shop Date and an influencer in her own right. In the accompanying video, Amelia quizzes the players about what it takes to be a Lioness and promotes Football Beyond Borders, a charity that uses the power of sport to change the lives of young people.

It’s all done with sensitivity and a smart sense of humour that, typically of Nike, never feels like a brand levering itself into the conversation. Unlike this from Xbox … 

Sakina Karchaoui x Xbox 

Women’s World Cup 2023

adidas and Nike have shown yet again how to deliver effortlessly cool creative. In my opinion, however, this post from Xbox fails to match these brands in terms of elegance or relevance. As a concept, to have France’s Sakina Karchaoui and Halo Infinite’s Master Chief competing to head a ball is tortuous and – even worse – forgettable.

Posted on the eve of the France vs Australia game, the creative may have achieved its objective in terms of engagement metrics – but judging by the negative comments, an awful lot of those numbers may have come from fans taking the opportunity to gloat after France’s exit on penalties.

Redtorch is a global research, digital & creative agency trusted by the biggest names in world sport making sport more relevant to more people. Click here to find out more about about our work.