This is not just the first time FIFA Women’s World Cup will be hosted in the Southern Hemisphere or the first time that 32 teams will be competing in the tournament — it’s also the first time that multiple countries will be hosting the competition. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at Australia and New Zealand as they get set to co-host this summer’s World Cup.
We all can see how passionate Australia is about sports. From footballers, cricketers to swimmers, they have a stronghold and representation in almost every sport. They are no stranger to hosting big tournaments having previously hosted the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, and the AFC Asian Cup.
As far as their team goes, Australia, or The Matildas as they are called have been rising in the rankings and the quality of play at a very fast pace as they are currently ranked at 10th. A deep run in the tournament can help them break into the top 6. The success of this team has helped to increase the popularity of women’s football in the country as more girls have started to take up the sport at the grassroots level.
Australia have invested heavily in upgrading its sports infrastructure and facilities. The tournament will be played across 10 stadiums and in nine host cities (Including New Zealand). Australia will also host 1 of the semi-finals and the final at Accor Stadium, also known as Stadium Australia which has 84,000 capacity and has hosted major world events like the Olympics.
This is a very small island nation with a population of just under 5 million. But still, this doesn’t dent their hopes of becoming a sporting powerhouse since they have representation at a very high level in almost every sport. The New Zealand women’s team or The Football Ferns as they are called are currently ranked 25th in the world and are looking to improve their past few WCs performances. They will be hosting matches at 4 different venues and have also pledged to make the tournament the most environmentally friendly World Cup to date.
Here is what Johanna Wood, President of New Zealand Football, said: “It is a privilege to co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 with Australia and we look forward to welcoming the world’s best athletes and their supporters to Aotearoa New Zealand.”
“We have and will continue to work with our partners to deliver the biggest, most exciting and best tournament to date. The legacy of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 starts now and will go on to leave a lasting impression on women’s sport across both countries and the wider Asia-Pacific region.
Australia and New Zealand are jointly hosting the WC which is set to be the largest-ever tournament in women’s football history. Both of them have prepared well with their main focus lying in the areas of gender equality, upgrading sports infrastructure, and most importantly, sustainability.
The tournament’s sustainability strategy recognizes the unique stories and cultures of First Nations people in Australia and Māori as Mana whenua in New Zealand. With the way things are going, this tournament is expected to inspire a new generation of girls to take up the sport and leave a lasting legacy for women’s football.
By: Hemant / @Sportscasmm
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Naomi Baker / Getty Images