Schedule for 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup in NZ confirmed

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Dec 2021, 12:09PM
The Football Ferns during their clash against South Korea. (Photo / Photosport)
The Football Ferns during their clash against South Korea. (Photo / Photosport)

Schedule for 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup in NZ confirmed

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Dec 2021, 12:09PM

New Zealand will host a total of 29 matches at the 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup, including some of the big games of the tournament. 

The event, which will be co-hosted with Australia, is expected to be one of the biggest sporting fiestas this country has ever seen, with thousands of travelling fans and record breaking attendances. 

The potential impact came into sharper focus on Thursday, with the confirmation of the match schedule and venue split. 

Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin will share 29 of the 64 games, with the remainder spread between five cities across the Tasman. 

While Australia has the majority of knockout games (five out of 16), New Zealand's overall share is better than would have been expected when the co-hosting arrangements were first mooted several years ago, given the relative size of the two markets. 

Along with the opening game at Eden Park, there is a semifinal in Auckland, two quarter-finals (Auckland, Wellington) and two round of sixteen games (Auckland, Wellington). 
Hamilton and Dunedin missed out on latter stage matches but will host five and six group games respectively. 

"These things are always a balancing act," said tournament CEO Dave Beeche, when asked why the capital had been preferred. "We're comfortable with where we've landed in terms of an overall spread up and down the country." 

New Zealand will host 24 group matches, the same as Australia, with Auckland (six) and Wellington (seven) picking up the balance. 

The action will be frenetic in the opening phase, with the 24 games in this country spread across 14 days. Fans in Wellington are especially well served, with a match every other day during pool play. 

As the seeded team in group A, the Football Ferns will open the tournament at Eden Park on July 20. They will play in Wellington five days later, before their final group game in Dunedin on July 30. 

If the Ferns progress from their group, their last 16 match will be on August 5, in either Auckland or Wellington, while any quarter-final appearance will also be in this country. 
Sydney will host 11 matches across two venues, including a semifinal and the final at Stadium Australia. The other games are in Brisbane (eight), Melbourne (six), Perth (five) and Adelaide (five). 

The pairings and kick-off times for each fixture will be available after the draw, with a date for that milestone expected to be announced in January. 

Beeche, who was also at the helm for the 2015 Fifa Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand, predicted the 2023 showpiece would dwarf any previous football event on these shores. 

"I would say it's a completely different game," said Beeche. "The amount of focus that Fifa is putting into women's football and the development of it is enormous. 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." 

The 2019 Women's World Cup in France set significant new benchmarks, with 1.2 billion television viewers and more than a million tickets sold. Beeche said they are yet to set an attendance target for 2023, but a figure of 1.5 million has previously been mooted. 

The largest crowds for women's sporting fixtures in New Zealand have often come via double headers with a men's match, especially in rugby and cricket, but Beeche is confident the stand alone model will engender huge interest. 

"The landscape is evolving very quickly in women's sport and some of it's going to happen by its own right, just because of the scale and scope of this tournament," he said. 

"[But] we're not taking that for granted. There is going to be an extensive promotional strategy and plan in place around making sure we build the awareness, build the interest, build the engagement and make sure that we build the momentum all the way through 2023 so that come game time we do have full stadiums." 

The host cities and stadiums for the Fifa Women's World Cup 2023: 

  •   Adelaide/Tarntanya– Hindmarsh Stadium
    • Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau – Eden Park 
    • Brisbane/Meaanjin – Brisbane Stadium 
    • Dunedin/Ōtepoti – Dunedin Stadium 
    • Hamilton/Kirikiriroa – Waikato Stadium 
    • Melbourne/Naarm – Melbourne Rectangular Stadium 
    • Perth/Boorloo – Perth Rectangular Stadium 
    • Sydney/Gadigal – Stadium Australia and Sydney Football Stadium 
    • Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara – Wellington Stadium