New Zealand bags 29 FIFA World Cup™ games


2023 FIFA Womens WC schedule released Image: Gwendoline Le Goff/Panoramic 2019

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is coming to the Oceanian countries – Australia and New Zealand – out of which the Kiwis will get a total of 29 games split between four stadiums.

The ‘RNZ’ stated that each country gets an equal share of group matches with four groups based on each side of the Tasman for the opening stages of the 32-team tournament.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is scheduled to be the ninth edition of the soccer showpiece, the quadrennial world championship for women’s national football teams organized by FIFA. The tournament will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand and is scheduled to take place from July 20th to August 20th, 2023.

The ‘RNZ’ further stated that this will be the first time the base camp model will be used in a FIFA Women’s World Cup™. It is also the first time the tournament will be co-hosted by two countries and two confederations.

Auckland and Wellington gets the major chunk of the World Cup pie in New Zealand while Sydney will be the focal point in Australia bagging 11 matches including the final on August 20th.

The Football Ferns (the New Zealand women’s national football team) will kick off the tournament in Auckland (New Zealand) on July 20th. One of the most celebrated global arenas, the 50,000-capacity Eden Park in New Zealand will also host five other group games followed by a round of 16 games, a quarter final and a semi-final.

Wellington (New Zealand) has a total of seven pool games, including a Football Ferns game, against yet to be confirmed opposition, as well as a round of 16 matches and a quarter final.

Dunedin gets six games, including the Football Ferns final group game, and Hamilton will host five group games.

The draw for the tournament will be announced in January.

The last two Women’s World Cups have been hosted in summer in Canada and France but tournament organizer Dave Beeche said New Zealand’s experience hosting the men’s Under-20 World Cup in 2015 was a good test of what fans could expect for a tournament held in winter.

Added Beeche, “In spite of some of the weather challenges we had in 2015, I think that we proved that New Zealanders will still come out in force, and that [2015] final was a tough weather day but it was a full stadium and a fantastic atmosphere.”

A record 36,109 people watched the Australian football side, the ‘Matildas’ (Australia women’s national soccer team) play the World Number 1 USA last month in Sydney and Beeche was aware getting a crowd of that size in New Zealand could be a challenge.

Beeche continued, “The landscape is evolving very quickly in women’s sport and I think some of it is going to happen by its own right just because of the nature of the scale and scope of this tournament, we’re not taking that for granted and there is going to be an extensive promotional strategy and plan in place around making sure we build the awareness.”

Beeche hoped it would not only be local fans but those traveling from America, Europe and Asia that would fill the stands – “The priority is always football itself, looking after the teams, filling the stadiums, there’s no doubt that these mega events are about driving economic as well as social outputs and so we’ll be working hard with Tourism New Zealand and FIFA globally.”

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins was looking forward to what the tournament could do for his region.

Observed Hawkins, “This is a significant event for our City, hosting the finest players of the world’s biggest sport. We’re looking forward to sharing our renowned Dunedin hospitality with the 12 teams and their fans from around the globe. It’s a fantastic opportunity for football followers in the wider South Island to experience this once-in-a-lifetime international tournament close to home. We can’t wait for them to enjoy spending time exploring Dunedin in and around the matches.”

Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson said New Zealanders were thrilled to be hosting 24 group matches and five knockout matches – “Gaining an equal share of the group-stage matches with Australia is really exciting for Aotearoa and will ensure more of our sports-mad nation can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event in our backyard.”

Australia will host six group-stage fixtures at the 45,500-capacity Sydney Football Stadium, with Perth and Brisbane both hosting five and a further four each taking place in Melbourne and Adelaide.

The 52,500-capacity Brisbane Stadium will host the third place play-off and the final will be at Sydney’s 83,500-capacity Stadium Australia.

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