Australia and New Zealand 2023
In less than three weeks’ time, the 2023 women’s football World Cup gets underway in Australia and New Zealand. With many seeing this instalment as the most eagerly anticipated women’s football World Cup in history, the state of the women’s game is arguably the healthiest it’s ever been.
Running from the 20th of July to the 20th of August, Australia and New Zealand 2023 represents the ninth edition of the tournament and will be the first time that a women’s football World Cup has been jointly hosted. Additionally, the number of teams competing has been expanded to 32 for the first time ever, emulating the format used in the men’s 2022 competition.
Eight groups of four teams will be whittled down to a last-16 knock-out phase, followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final, which is to be held in Sydney. Group A kicks us off on the 20th of July, with co-host New Zealand taking on Norway in Auckland, before Australia play the Republic of Ireland later that day on home turf.
As powerhouses of the international women’s game, the USA and Germany will undoubtedly be two of the outright favourites to take home the trophy, however, as the game continues to evolve and develop throughout the world, the number of viable winners also increases with each tournament. England, France and Holland have all seen recent successes and will all go into the tournament with confidence and expectation.
The ‘Queen of Football’ set to make history
Incredibly, Brazil’s Marta, the ‘Queen of Football’, is set to play in her sixth World Cup, making her one of the most decorated World Cup players ever in both the women’s and men’s game. She’ll overtake players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lothar Matthaus, who have all played in five World Cups each, but will remain one World Cup shy of compatriot and ex-teammate Formiga, who has played in a remarkable seven.
With 17 tournament goals, Marta has scored more times at World Cups than any other person on the planet, having recently overtaken Germany’s Miroslav Klose, and she has the chance in New Zealand and Australia to become the first player, male or female, to score at six different World Cups.
Continued growth and momentum
The summer of 2022 was a major turning point for many in the UK in terms of how women’s football is viewed, as England’s Lionesses brought football home by winning the 2021 Euros (held in 2022 due to Covid-19). The tournament, which took place in England, captured the interest of the nation to the extent that a women’s football tournament has never done so before and culminated in a much-deserved victory for the hosts. Role models were created, young girls and boys alike were inspired and the squad was ultimately named BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year.
With each tournament, one suspects that the women’s game will continue to grow, changing attitudes and perceptions along the way. The 2023 World Cup promises to be a remarkable event, showcasing some of the best players on the planet. If you’d like to enquire about a bespoke trip to New Zealand and Australia to take in some of the action, please get in touch with us here.