The biggest sporting event New Zealand has ever hosted is almost here and if you talk to anyone in the know about the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup you’re likely to hear the phrase “we don’t know what’s about to hit us.” In order to get you match fit and ready to impress your friends and colleagues we present your World Cup cheat sheet.
The basics of FIFA Women’s Football World Cup
This is the 9th edition of the Women’s World Cup and the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. 32 nations will compete, expanded from 24 in 2019, and owing to football’s widespread reach and regional qualifying systems teams will come from every corner – from Australia to Zambia. The United States is the two-time defending champs and will be favourites.
Speaking of Australia…
Yea, so this isn’t just our tournament. New Zealand is co-hosting with our besties over the road and the Aussies will get to host the final… and probably be centre of attention
With teams split across the two countries, we will host Groups A, C, E and G and totally lucked out when the draw was made by getting the powerhouse USA team coming here. They are the out and out rockstar team and will bring with them massive support and media coverage. We will also have Norway with their star Ada Hegerberg, Euro semi-finalists Sweden and Spain, who boast one of the world’s best players Alexia Pulletas, coming here.
And that’s just the teams…
The FIFA circus is about to roll into town. Sometimes controversial, the governing body is eye-wateringly powerful and have no qualms showing it, with big wigs jetting in from around the globe and a staff of thousands making the tournament go like clockwork. One of those big wigs is an amazing kiwi-Samoan wahine, Sarai Bareman, who is the head of women’s football and someone we should be immensely proud of having at the coalface – you’ll see her everywhere.
Accredited media will also likely number in the thousands and more importantly, FIFA is expecting fans from 120 countries to attend – ticket sales are likely to surpass more than one million.
Coming to a city near you.
While games will be played in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin, some teams will be based out of Tauranga, Palmerston North and Christchurch. It’s a big deal – those cities had to effectively bid to become training base hosts, showing they had all the necessarily facilities and amenities for those teams.
What about New Zealand’s chances?
We’re not going to sugar coat it, anyone expecting a Black Ferns-esq moment from the Football Ferns will be disappointed. New Zealand isn’t a football powerhouse and the team has been in a real rough patch of late. If they can get out of the group and into the knockout rounds it would be a massive achievement so if you can get along to their games and support them!
Get amongst it!
Having this tournament here is a once in a lifetime opportunity. New Zealand is really, really good at hosting sporting events but the scale of these sorts of things now mean it will become increasingly rare for us to stage something of this magnitude – we simply couldn’t do this one without Australia. It will be fun, vibrant, historic and there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy. You can find tickets to watch the games here.