The Women’s World Cup has been held eight times before, but this year’s event in Australia and New Zealand should be very different.
Since its start in 1991, the competition has grown as the women’s game has become more famous. CNN looks at what makes this year’s tournament different, from better pay to eight new teams.
This year will be the first time that two countries, New Zealand and Australia, will host the Women’s World Cup. The games will take place in 10 stadiums in 9 different towns, so teams will have to travel to play their games.
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth in Australia will host 35 games, while Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Dunedin in New Zealand will host 29.
On July 20, New Zealand and Norway will play the first game at Eden Park in Auckland. On August 20, the final will be held at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
Both countries have a long history in sports, but neither has ever won the event. The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has won four of the eight previous tournaments and is the two-time defending champion.
It will also be the first tournament to be held in the southern hemisphere, which may give the two host teams an edge.
But don’t expect the burning hot weather that Australia is known for. In that part of the world, it’s winter, so the weather is likely to be cool but comfortable, in the low teens to mid-20s Celsius (mid-50s to mid-70s Fahrenheit). Rain is likely, especially in matches held in New Zealand.
2. Largest event ever
This year, 32 teams will fight for the prize, which is the most countries that have ever taken part in the tournament. When China held its first event in 1991, there were only 12 teams, but by 1999, there were 16 teams.
In 2015, 24 teams competed in the event to see who would win football’s biggest prize. But for the first time, this year’s game will follow the same rules as the men’s World Cup. The 32 teams are split into eight groups of four, and the top two teams in each group move on to the next round.
With more games, more people will be able to watch, and FIFA says the tournament is on track to be the most-watched women’s sports event ever. FIFA said that almost 1.4 million tickets had been sold for this year’s games, which is already more than the number of people who watched the 2015 World Cup in Canada (1,353,506).
“The future is women,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino told reporters last month. “Thanks to the fans for supporting what will be the best FIFA Women’s World Cup ever,” he added.
“The excitement is growing in the host countries and around the world, and I can’t wait to see you there to watch the stars of women’s football shine on the world stage.”
On the first day, attendance records are also likely to be broken. When they play against Norway and the Republic of Ireland, the two host countries, New Zealand and Australia, will break their own national crowd records for women’s football games.
3. Eight debutants
With so many teams, there is room for eight countries that have never been to the World Cup games before. Later this month, Haiti, the Republic of Ireland, Morocco, Panama, the Philippines, Portugal, Vietnam, and Zambia will all join the race for the first time.
World Number 77 Zambia is the worst-ranked team in the event, and as a reward for making it to the finals, it will play Spain, Japan, and Costa Rica in its group.
The incredible rise of football in Morocco has been continued by the women’s team. The Atlas Lionesses played South Africa in the final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which was held in the country last year.
The men’s team is the first African team to make it to the playoffs at Qatar 2022. Haiti, which is ranked 53rd in the world, will also be making its start in Australia and New Zealand. The country may not be known for its football skills, but one of the most interesting young players in the world is on the women’s team.
Melchie Dumornay, who is 19 years old, just joined Olympique Lyonnais, which is one of the best women’s soccer teams in Europe. She is expected to make a big effect on the international stage. “Having Melchie is key. “She gives us the X factor,” Nicolas Delepine, the boss of Haiti, told FIFA+.
“When there isn’t much difference between the teams, you want her to do something.” Even though the new rules could be seen as a step forward for the event, there are worries that it could lead to games that are too easy for one team to win.
In the 2019 tournament, the USWNT beat Thailand 13-0 in a game that got people talking about the differences between countries. Some countries don’t have the resources to fight with the sport’s best teams.
This year’s small countries will be watched closely, and they will be hoping to escape being embarrassed on the world stage in the same way.
4. Payments in The Past
This year, the prize pool will go up to $110 million, which is almost three times as much as in 2019 and seven times as much as in 2015. In 2023, every player at the Women’s World Cup will get paid by FIFA.
Under the new system, participants will get a set amount of money based on how far their team goes in the competition. All players who make it to the group rounds will get $30,000. Those who make it to the Round of 16 will get $60,000.
Megan Rapinoe, a forward for the United States, talks to reporters at the USWNT Media Day for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on June 27, 2023, at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Megan Rapinoe, a member of the USWNT, says that next month’s World Cup will “blow the lid off” business possibilities for women’s sports around the world. The amount goes up with each step until the World Cup winners get $270,000 each.
“Under this new distribution model, which has never been done before, each player at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 can now count on getting paid for their efforts as they move through the tournament,” Infantino said.
“Women’s professional footballers make about $14,000 a year around the world, so the amounts given to them under this groundbreaking new distribution model will have a real and meaningful effect on their lives and careers.” The money will also go to the teams, whose national federations will each get $1,560,000 because they made it to the group stage. As the game goes on, the prize will go up, and the winner will get $4,290,000.
FIFPRO says it wants the new model to be a sign of good things to come for women’s football. “The key to this model’s success is that it is fair and used by everyone,” FIFPRO President David Aganzo said. “This is what female football players tell us they want most of all.” “We see this as just the start of a journey with FIFA that will change the way professional women’s football is played.”