Women’s World Cup Opener Sold Out, Says Tournament Chief

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Women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia’s opening match against Ireland at Stadium Australia in Sydney has been sold out, the chief executive of the tournament said on Tuesday, less than a month out from the tournament.

The Matildas are set to host Ireland at the 80,000-capacity stadium on July 20 as the ninth edition of the World Cup kicks off in the Southern Hemisphere.

The match was initially scheduled to be held at the Sydney Football Stadium, which has a capacity of 42,500, but due to high demand for tickets, the venue was changed, and additional tickets were made available.

“There is currently nothing available,” Dave Beeche, chief executive of the Women’s World Cup, said on Tuesday, according to an interview with AFP news agency.

Co-hosts New Zealand are also scheduled to play on the opening day, facing Norway at Eden Park in Auckland. Beeche expects that game also to be sold out.

“It’s going to be a massive day for women’s football,” he said of the doubleheader.

Concerns Over Sales in New Zealand

There had been concerns over sales in New Zealand after FIFA women’s football chief Sarai Bareman said last week that the country needs to raise ticket sales, adding that the Football Ferns do not have the same influence in New Zealand as the Matildas in Australia.

The Football Ferns, unlike the Matildas, are indeed in poor form. The team have been on a 10-match winless streak dating back to last year, and critics doubt if they can get out of the group stage in their debut World Cup appearance.

Beeche said 270,000 tickets had so far been sold in New Zealand and 830,000 in Australia. Despite the disparity in ticket sales in both countries, Beeche said New Zealand had shown a great response.

“When you look at the Matildas being a high-ranked team and the Football Ferns’ run of form, New Zealand is doing pretty well,” he said.

Capacity Crowd Expected in Australia

Football Australia said last week it is expecting a record crowd of 40,000 at Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium when the Matildas play France in a warm-up match on July 40.

The biggest attendance for a stand-alone women’s soccer match in Australia was 36,109 when they played the United States in November 2021 at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium.

Australia are in Group B at the World Cup with debutants Ireland, Nigeria and Olympic champions Canada, while New Zealand are in Group A with Norway, Switzerland and the Philippines.

This year’s World Cup, whose final will be held in Sydney on August 20, will be the first to feature 32 teams, up from 24 at the previous two editions. The United States is the defending champion after it defeated the Netherlands in the final in 2019.

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