The Women’s World Cup has been held eight times in total, but this year’s event in Australia and New Zealand is expected to be considerably different.
The competition has expanded since its beginning in 1991 along with the growth of the women’s game, which has recently experienced a rise in popularity.
CNN examines the factors that make this year’s edition a tournament unlike any other, including better money and eight new teams.
- Joint hosts
The Women’s World Cup will be held by New Zealand and Australia for the first time this year.
Teams will have to travel to play their matches because the games will be spread out among 10 stadiums in nine different cities.
There will be 35 games played in the five Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, and 29 in the four New Zealand cities of Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Dunedin.
The opening match between New Zealand and Norway will take place in Auckland’s Eden Park on July 20, and the final will draw spectators to Sydney’s Stadium Australia on August 20.
The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT), which has won four of the eight previous editions and is the two-time defending champion, has dominated the tournament despite the fact that both countries have a long history of winning it.
Additionally, this will be the first time a tournament has been hosted in the southern hemisphere, which could benefit the two host teams.
But don’t anticipate the scorching heat for which Australia is known. It’s winter there, so expect cold, pleasant temperatures between the mid-50s and the mid-70s Fahrenheit (low teens to the mid-20s Celsius), with rain, especially for games in New Zealand.
- The biggest competition ever
The competition this year will have 32 teams in total, the most nations to ever participate in the competition.
Only 12 teams participated in China’s inaugural tournament in 1991, but that number quickly rose to 16 teams in 1999.
In 2015, the tournament’s organizers expanded it once more as 24 teams competed for football’s top honor. But for the first time, the format of this year’s event will be similar to that of the men’s World Cup.
The top two from each group advance to the knockout rounds, with the 32 nations divided into eight groups of four.
The United States and New Zealand women’s soccer teams enter the field of play prior to their international friendly match, which will take place at Eden Park on January 21, 2023. Required Credit: USA TODAY Sports, Brett Phibbs
The Women’s World Cup will kick off in Eden Park in New Zealand.
Reuters/Brett Phibbs/USA TODAY Sports
FIFA has stated that the tournament is on course to be the most attended standalone women’s sporting event in history, and the additional games will allow more spectators to watch the games.
The number of tickets sold for this year’s games, according to FIFA, was close to 1.4 million, surpassing the 1,353,506 spectators who attended the World Cup in Canada in 2015.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, told reporters last month: “The future is women, and thanks to the fans for supporting what will be the greatest FIFA Women’s World Cup ever.”
“Motivation is growing in the host nations and around the world, and I look forward to seeing you there to watch the stars of women’s football shine on the international stage,” said the organizers.
On the first day, attendance records are anticipated to be shattered as well.
When New Zealand and Australia, the two hosts, play against Norway and the Republic of Ireland, respectively, they are expected to break their respective nations’ attendance records for women’s football games.
- Eight newcomers
The excessive number of teams also leaves room for eight nations that have never participated in the World Cup finals.
Later this month, the debuts of Haiti, Republic of Ireland, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Vietnam, and Zambia will give the competition new vitality.
77 in the world Zambia, the tournament’s lowest-ranked squad, was rewarded for making it to the finals with group matches against Spain, Japan, and Costa Rica.
The remarkable growth of football in Morocco has continued in the meantime thanks to the women’s team.
The Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which was held in the nation, saw the Atlas Lionesses go to the final before losing to South Africa.
It happens as Qatar 2022’s men’s team, the first team from Africa to achieve so, advances to the semifinals.
On July 17, 2023, in Hamilton, New Zealand, players from Zambia interact with neighborhood kids during a training session. (Image courtesy of Getty Images and Michael Bradley for FIFA/FIFA))
One of the teams competing in the Women’s World Cup for the first time this year is Zambia.
The 53rd-ranked nation in the world, Haiti, is also making its debut and will be trying to defy the odds in Australia and New Zealand.
The women’s team features one of the most intriguing young players in the globe, despite the fact that the nation may not be well-known for its football prowess.
Melchie Dumornay, 19, has recently joined one of the top women’s teams in Europe, Olympique Lyonnais, and is poised to have an impact on the world stage.
The key is having Melchie. She provides us the X factor,” Nicolas Delepine, the coach of Haiti, said to FIFA+.
“You’re looking for her to act when there’s nothing at all between teams.”
Although the new additions can be considered as advancements for the competition, there are concerns that they might result in some unfair matchups.
The USWNT defeated Thailand 13-0 in the 2019 competition, sparking discussion about the discrepancy between countries as some struggle to find the resources necessary to compete with the sport’s powerhouses.
The underdogs of this year will be the focus of attention as they attempt to prevent such humiliation on the international scene.
- Previous payments
The prize pool for the competition will rise to $110 million this year, nearly tripling from 2019 and seven times higher than in 2015. In addition, FIFA will pay every player at the Women’s World Cup in 2023.
Participants in the new payment scheme will get a predetermined sum of money based on how far their team advances in the competition.
Everyone who qualifies for the group stages will receive $30,000, and those who advance to the Round of 16 will receive twice that amount.
On June 27, 2023, at Dignity Health Sports Part in Carson, California, United States forward Megan Rapinoe addresses the media at a news conference for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) Media Day for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Megan Rapinoe, a member of the USWNT, claims that the World Cup will ‘blow the lid off’ chances for women’s sports on a worldwide scale.
Every level sees an increase in compensation until the World Cup champions receive $270,000 each.
Infantino stated that each player at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 can now fully count on compensation for their efforts as they advance through the competition under this innovative new distribution scheme.
“The amounts allocated under this unprecedented new distribution model will have a real and meaningful impact on the lives and careers of these players.” The average annual wage of women’s professional football players is about $14,000.
The teams will also get payments; for making it to the group stage, each national federation will receive $1,560,000.
Over the course of the competition, the prize will increase, with the final victor receiving $4,290,000.
The new concept, according to FIFPRO, should serve as a precursor to things to come for women’s football.
The universal applicability and fairness of this concept, which is what female footballers tell us they value most, are its fundamental components, according to FIFPRO President David Aganzo.
We believe that this is just the start of what will be a revolutionary journey for FIFA and women’s professional football.