It’s been four years since the best of the best in women’s soccer gathered in France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the USWNT took home their record-breaking fourth World Cup win. Now, preparations for the ninth installment of the tournament, which will be hosted in New Zealand and Australia this year, are underway. Here’s what we know so far about the 2023 Women’s World Cup, including the schedule, ticket availability, location, number of teams, pay, and how to watch.
When Will the 2023 Women’s World Cup Take Place?
Tournament games are scheduled to occur between July 20 and Aug. 20, 2023, per FIFA. The final game will take place on Aug. 20, the last day of the tournament.
Where Is the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
On Thursday, June 25, 2020, FIFA announced Australia and New Zealand as the host nations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
They were selected out of the nine countries that submitted bids: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Korea. This was the largest expression of interest in hosting the Women’s World Cup in the tournament’s history. Australia and New Zealand’s joint bid received 22 of the 35 valid votes cast by the FIFA Council members in the first ballot, with the Colombian Football Association obtaining 13 votes.
Games will be hosted at 10 different stadiums across the two countries, including in Brisbane (Meaanjin), Adelaide (Tarntanya), Melbourne (Naarm), Perth (Boorloo), and Sydney (Gadigal) in Australia, and Dunedin (Ōtepoti), Auckland (Tāmaki Makaurau), Hamilton (Kirikiriroa), and Wellington (Te Whanganui-a-Tara) in New Zealand.
How Many Teams Will Compete in the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
The format of the Women’s World Cup will has been changed for the 2023 tournament. FIFA announced on July 21, 2019, that 32 nations will qualify (including the host country), which is eight more than in previous tournaments. There were only 12 teams at the first women’s tournament in 1991, and it expanded to include 16 countries in the US in 1999 and 24 in Canada in 2015.
The countries whose teams qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea Republic (South Korea), Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Vietnam, and Zambia.
What’s New at the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
For the first time, the council vote deciding the host country was made public, according to AP News. Previously, the decisions were made by an “executive committee,” which was riddled with scandal and accusations. FIFA followed a similarly transparent process when it awarded the 2026 men’s tournament to the joint bid from the US, Canada, and Mexico.
Another new addition in 2023? A ban on artificial turf. Athletes have long complained about the physical toll playing on artificial turf can take. While the men’s games have been played on natural grass for some time, female players have had to advocate for the same treatment. In March 2019, FIFA announced it would permit only natural grass fields for 2023, and all countries submitting bids have to abide by this requirement.
Many teams who’ve historically worn an all-white kit are forgoing white shorts due to period concerns, starting this year. For example, both the England and New Zealand national teams have ditched white shorts in an effort to help players feel players more comfortable and confident when playing during their periods.
How to Get Tickets For the 2023 Women’s World Cup
If you still don’t have your tickets but want to attend the World Cup, you still have a chance! Single Match Passes are available through the Last-Minute Sales Phase, which started April 11. You can see what’s available and purchase your tickets directly from the FIFA website until all tickets are sold out.
2023 Women’s World Cup Schedule
The tournament will kick off with a group stage. The 32 teams are divided into eight pools of four teams each, and every team in each pool will play every other team in their pool. The top two teams from each pool will then advance to the round of 16, then the quarterfinals and semifinals, all of which play “knockout” style. The winners of the two semifinal games will play each other for first and second place, and the losers of the semifinal matches will play to determine who gets third place.
The first match scheduled for the tournament is between New Zealand and Norway (both in Group A) on July 20.
Wondering about the US team’s World Cup schedule? The USWNT will begin play in Group E, facing Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Portugal. Their first match will be against Vietnam on July 22, followed by a July 27 matchup against the Netherlands and an August 1 match against Portugal.
Will Competitors at the 2023 Women’s World Cup Be Paid Equal to Men?
Pay equity has been a hot-button issue in soccer and many other sports in recent years, especially with the USWNT reaching an equal pay agreement in May 2022. While FIFA has not yet reached gender pay equity, it’s making some improvements.
The prize money at the 2023 Women’s World Cup will total $150 million, reports CNN, which is five times what was handed out at the 2019 tournament but is still only about a third of the $440 million awarded for the 2022 men’s edition of the World Cup. FIFA also set a goal of having equal prize money by the next editions of the tournaments, in 2026 for men and 2027 for women.
Where to Watch the 2023 Women’s World Cup
If you’re watching from the US, you can keep up with the World Cup through the Fox Sports TV network and the Fox Sports app.
You will also be able to stream games on HBO Max (soon to be just “Max”). Coverage begins on Thursday, July 20.