Six hundred days out from the much anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023TM, the match schedule for the ninth edition of the tournament has been confirmed.
The 64-fixture match schedule, which features 32-teams for the first time in the tournament’s history, will see the opening match and opening ceremony take place on 20 July 2023 at New Zealand’s Eden Park in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Stadium Australia in Sydney/Gadigal has been selected to host the final a month later on 20 August.
The host countries will also split the remaining fixtures with New Zealand hosting five further matches at Eden Park, seven in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, six in Dunedin/Ōtepoti and five in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa.
Two round of 16 matches will be played in New Zealand in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, with both cities also hosting a quarter-final match each.
The final match to be played in New Zealand will be a semi-final at Eden Park on Tuesday 15 August.
In total, New Zealand will host 29 matches and tournament CEO Dave Beeche has said deciding which cities host which matches has been “a balancing act”.
“We’re comfortable with where we’ve landed in terms of an overall spread up and down the country.”
Beeche, who was also in charge for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand in 2015 predicts the 2023 event will be bigger than any other football event seen on these shores.
“I would say it’s a completely different game. The amount of focus that FIFA is putting into women’s football and the development of it is enormous,” said Beeche.
“And internally within FIFA, they talk about the Women’s World Cup having been elevated to a tier one tournament. So that comes with a whole host of different thinking and approach to it.”
New Zealand’s Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson said it’s thrilling for New Zealand 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,” Robertson said.
For New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell, the opportunity to be hosting some of the world’s best players is unprecedented.
“From the opening match of the tournament to the semi-final, the 29 games we are hosting will see some of the best players in the game welcomed to Aotearoa for the first time,” he said.
“Come 20 July 2023 the eyes of the sporting world will be focused on Eden Park as we kick off one of the biggest sporting events ever held in this country.”
To view the match schedule, click here.