Euro 2020 Special

2023 Major Events: The Women’s World Cup

With the men’s World Cup now concluded, it is time to look forward to the women’s equivalent in 2023 which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

It will take place between July and August and, not only will it be the first Women’s World Cup to be jointly hosted, but it will be the first senior World Cup for either gender to take place across two different Confederations.

For sporting reasons, Australia is part of the Asian Football Confederation, whilst New Zealand is affiliated with Oceania.



This will be the 9th edition of the Women’s World Cup which was first contested back in 1991 in China, with the United States beating Norway in the final. The United States remain the most successful team in the history of the competition, winning it four times.

They are also the defending champions, having won the tournament when it was last contested back in 2019 in France when they defeated the Netherlands in the final in Paris.

Germany have won the tournament twice, and Norway and Japan once each.


The format

The format is similar to that used for the men’s World Cup in Qatar in that there will be 32 teams in all -up from 24 the last time that the tournament was staged – who have been split into eight groups of four teams. The four teams will play each other on a round robin basis, with the top two teams progressing to the knock-out stages.

In the event that teams are tied on points, goal difference and then goals scored will be used to determine the order of preference.

From the round of 16 onwards, matches will go to extra time. And if need be, it might go to penalties to decide the winner.


The teams

The identity of 29 of the teams that will be competing is already known with the three remaining slots dependent on the outcome of play-off matches.

For a number of countries this will be their first ever World Cup, including the Philippines, South Korea, the Republic of Ireland, and Morocco, who will be hoping to emulate the achievements of their male counterparts in Qatar.

Meanwhile, Zambia have made history by becoming the first land-locked African nation to qualify for a World Cup of either gender.


The draw

The draw took place in New Zealand in November with the teams ranked according to seedings. And by tradition, the two host nations were placed in the top spot, along with the USA as defending champions, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, and England.

With the composition of all the groups yet to be known, it is too soon to identify a “Group of Death”, although England could have wished for easier opponents than to be drawn against both Denmark and China.

And Group G, which contains Sweden, Italy, Argentina, and South Africa looks a potentially tricky one to be navigated through.


The FIFA rankings

The USA are the current number one team in the world according to the FIFA rankings, but their once unassailable lead at the top is rapidly shrinking, and Germany, Spain, and England are all snapping at their heels, whilst France are not that far behind.

The Americans have also lost a few friendlies recently, suffering defeats to England, Spain and Germany, which suggests that – although they will begin the tournaments as favourites – that status is not as certain as it was a few years ago.

Former player Carli Lloyd has said that the winning culture and mentality that has been part of the American DNA for generations has begun to slip away, and that they are no longer feared by the rest of the world.


High expectations

There are high expectations that this will be the biggest and the best Women’s World Cup ever. More than 1 billion people watched the 2019 World Cup, and with interest in the female game growing all the time, that figure should be easily surpassed this time around.

However, there are fears that the game is growing too quickly, and without the necessary investment in some countries to make it sustainable.

Whilst giving more countries the chance to appear in the World Cup is a laudable ambition, there are fears that the group stages could see someone sided scorelines when the big teams take on some of the minnows.

The knock-out stages should be fiercely competitive though. And by the time that it gets down to the final inn Sydney on August 20th, the identity of the two best teams in the world should be known.




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