If you’re headed to Australia or New Zealand this year, you might want to pack your national flag in your suitcase. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is kicking off on Thursday 20 July with New Zealand playing Norway in Auckland, and Australia playing Ireland in Sydney. Games continue in nine cities across the region this July and August.
Why is everyone suddenly into women’s football (or is that soccer)?
The FIFA Women's World Cup takes place every four years, with 32 qualifying nations competing to determine the world’s top team. This year’s is the tournament's ninth edition – so it’s not exactly new. Yet women’s soccer has definitely been enjoying more media attention of late.
More media exposure means a bigger audience can witness the talent, the gamesmanship and the camaraderie that make the sport so compelling and not just for women. In fact, 50 million football fans watched England's Lionesses beat Germany in the UEFA Women’s Euro Cup final last year – a world record that FIFA will undoubtedly top in 2023.
In the lead up to this year's Women's World Cup there's also been a bit of controversy with FIFA blocking the rainbow armband, offering players a selection of options covering a range of social causes including inclusion and gender equality all sanctioned by the governing body instead.
Where are the FIFA Women’s World Cup games being played?
In Australia, World Cup games are being played at world-class stadiums (did we mention how much the Aussies and Kiwis love their sport?) in Perth/Boorloo, Sydney/Gadigal, Melbourne/Naarm, Adelaide/Tarntanya and Brisbane/Meaanjin.
The four New Zealand host cities (all with standout sporting facilities as well) are Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau (where the first Group A game between New Zealand and Norway kicks off on July 20), Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Dunedin/Ōtepoti and Hamilton/Kirikiriroa.
Can I still get tickets to a game?
Most tickets for the 64 games being held over four weeks have been snapped up in Australia, but there are plenty of match passes available for New Zealand games. Only six matches in NZ were close to being sold out a week out from kick off in July.
In fact one of the tournament sponsors offered 5,000 tickets to fans for free in the lead up the the first match. The reason organisers believe sales have been slower in New Zealand? Well, the Football Ferns have never won a World Cup group match before... Imagine the jubliation on the ground if they get there in 2023!
If you're keen to get to a specific game while you're in town even if general tickets are sold out, it is worth looking into premium Official Hospitality offers. Tickets come a little pricier this way, but include added perks like lounge access or catering. You’ll need to create a FIFA account to check availability.
Is there a way to watch the game for free?
There will be plenty of pubs, public squares and beer gardens at which to watch the action live via Australia’s free-to-air Channel Seven TV network.
Sky NZ acquired the rights to broadcast the tournament in New Zealand, with games involving the NZ team available on a free-to-air basis nationwide.
If you’re in one of the nine cities when the games are hosted, join in the celebratory atmosphere elevating women's football at last, at one of the free Fan Festivals hosted by FIFA. Look online for details.
Is there anything else I need to know?
All nine host cities are excellent bases, a mix of major metropolises and smaller, more manageable-sized cities. Book accommodation as soon as possible, and if there are any restaurants or must-see sights on your list, consider pre-booking those, too. Smaller cities like Hamilton (just over an hour south of Auckland) are sure fill up as well.
It will be cooler during these winter months, and colder the further south you go. Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland and Perth have mild temperatures; a jacket and an umbrella will be plenty to stay comfortable. If you’re heading to Melbourne or Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, we advise bringing warm gloves, a hat and scarf.
Already brimming with women's football fever? So are we. Get your soccer fix in the lead-up to the tournament by following FIFA’s dedicated pages for the tournament on Facebook and Instagram. Or look out for Women’s World Cup content on the main FIFA accounts on Twitter and YouTube.