The inaugural Women’s World Cup, which will include a total of 32 teams, will get underway on Thursday with New Zealand taking on Norway, a team that has previously won the tournament. Australia and New Zealand, who are co-hosting the event, will play the Republic of Ireland in front of 80,000 fans in Sydney.
The tournament that will continue for a whole month has grown from the 24-team competition that took place at the previous iteration, which took place in France four years ago. Additionally, it is being held in two different nations for the very first time, specifically in nine locations across Australia and New Zealand.
While the Matildas of Australia have their sights set on making it all the way to the championship game in Sydney on August 20, the All Blacks of New Zealand have more modest goals for themselves on their home turf.
Following the opening ceremony for the competition at Eden Park at 07:00 (GMT), the Football Ferns will play Norway at the same venue at the same time, with the goal of being the first team from New Zealand to win a World Cup match.
“Our objective is quite cut and simple. Our goal is to win our first match at the World Cup. “We want to make it out of our group,” the captain of the team, Ali Riley, said to the reporters the night before the Group A game.
Jitka Klimkova is the head coach for New Zealand, who are currently rated 26th in the world but have only one victory in their most recent 11 matches.
The current coach of the Norwegian national team, Hege Riise, was the standout player for Norway when they won the World Cup in 1995.
They came to New Zealand with the goal of erasing the memory of their performance at the previous year’s European Championship, in which they were eliminated in the group stage after suffering an 8-0 loss to the tournament hosts, England.
– Australia’s hope rests on the shoulders of Kerr – “Everything feels very different, nothing to compare with how we left the tournament last year,” said Caroline Graham Hansen of Norway, who plays midfield for Barcelona, the team that won the Champions League.
“We are starting from scratch. We have the opportunity to begin over and to get things moving in the right direction. This is one of the sport’s many appealing aspects. There is always a new opportunity, and right now we have that possibility once more.”
Sam Kerr, Australia’s star forward and captain, will be counted on to lead her team in the second game on Thursday, which will be played against Ireland, one of the eight teams who are making their first appearance in the Women’s World Cup.
The expectation among Australian supporters is to advance farther than simply advancing out of Group B and towards the later phases of the competition; however, the Chelsea striker Kerr is not getting ahead of herself.
“We are really confident, but for us it’s just about the first game,” Kerr, the unofficial face of the tournament, said on Wednesday. “For us, it’s just about the first game.”
“As of right now, we are playing that game with no other game in mind, so at this point, that game serves as our final.”
“Make the most of the present.”
The officials from FIFA stated on Wednesday that a total of 1,375 million tickets had been sold for the competition, despite the fact that they anticipate there will be a packed crowd of 80,000 people attending the event.
This indicates that the total number of tickets sold for the 2019 Women’s World Cup has been exceeded, despite worries of a reduced take-up rate in New Zealand.
“My only message that I want to get out here is: seize the moment, be proud of what you have been able to achieve here, in New Zealand, in Australia,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino told reporters in Auckland on Wednesday as he urged fans to grab up any remaining tickets to the event. Infantino was encouraging supporters to attend the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
“You should feel proud of the fact that this will be the largest event — and I don’t just mean a sporting event — that has been organized in this location up to this point.”
The current champions, the United States, are the odds-on favorite to capture an unprecedented third consecutive title and an overall record-extending fifth championship.
They will begin their defense of the championship on Saturday against a team that is considered to be on the lower tier, namely Vietnam. On the same day, the European champions, England, will take on Haiti.
Prize money for the Women’s World Cup has been significantly boosted as a result of the tournament’s expansion.
The overall pot allocated by FIFA has increased to a record $152 million, up from $50 million in 2019 when it was first distributed. This pool also provides compensation for teams that release players.
It is a significant increase from the $15 million that was offered in 2015, but it is still a pittance in compared to the $440 million that was distributed at the men’s World Cup that was held in Qatar in 2017.