Monday 07 March 2022, 00:00

Countdown milestone celebrated Down Under

  • Today marks 500 days until the Opening Match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

  • Milestone marked with celebration event at the Sydney Opera House

  • The tournament will be contested by 32 teams and hosted by two nations for the first time

There could barely be a more iconic landmark than the Sydney Opera House to celebrate the 500-day milestone ahead of the kick-off to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™. A host of players, dignitaries, media and more gathered at the unique sail-shaped building to mark the occasion. Just across the water, little more than a Lydia Williams punt away, the Sydney Harbour Bridge oversaw the event, albeit partly obscured by misty rain. But while the effect of La Nina swirled around the Harbour City, there were no shortage of sunny dispositions among those gathered where the impending arrival of the biggest women’s sporting event to hit Australia or New Zealand felt more tangible than ever before. The two co-hosts will continue their on-field preparations with a two-match international series next month. Australia will host New Zealand on 8 and 12 April.

Among the notable attendees was Head of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Project Rhiannon Martin, who is leading a FIFA delegation site inspection in Australia and New Zealand over the coming month. Jane Fernandez, COO Australia, FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 said: “Excitement is building as we are just 500 days away from hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023. “Seven teams are now confirmed – two for the first time – and qualification will continue to gather momentum over the next 12 months with 25 nations set to secure qualification and join us in Australia and New Zealand 500 days from now for the biggest FIFA Women’s World Cup in history.” Fernandez says the tournament is a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave a significant legacy for the nation’s largest community sport. “We are all working incredibly hard to deliver a tournament that inspires us all to go ‘Beyond Greatness’ and leaves a lasting legacy in Australia, New Zealand and across the globe,” she said.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 COO New Zealand Jane Patterson said hosting the tournament in 500 days would cap off a remarkable period for sport in New Zealand. “Along with the Women’s Cricket World Cup - which started on Friday in New Zealand - and the Women’s Rugby World Cup and the International Women and Sport Conference to be hosted here later this year, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will empower a new generation of women to lead on and off the pitch,” she said. “Hosting the largest female sporting event in the world will be a watershed moment in the history of women’s sport in Aotearoa, and it will also be a catalyst for supercharging long-term participation growth in football across both host nations.”

500 days to the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

Australia midfielder and 2019 Women’s World Cup star Chloe Logarzo said: “When you talk to any Australian about the iconic sporting moments – you think of the likes of the 2000 [Sydney] Olympics – and I think for us as Matildas, we want that iconic moment of inspiring a nation, inspiring the next generation and really captivating everyone so that there is a long lasting legacy and in 20 years they are still talking about the World Cup – it gives me chills just thinking about it. “To be a part of this [milestone] and to really get ready on the next 500 days it really just makes me narrow in on what we have ahead of us. To have a World Cup to inspire the next generation is something that I would have never been able to imagine growing up and playing in.” It was a doubly special day for local women’s football with the nation’s newest national team launched. The ParaMatildas became Australia's first national team for women and girls with cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and symptoms of stroke – a first for the Asia-Pacific region.

To receive information on how to apply for FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ tickets click here