Sunday 04 August 2019, 13:01

FIFA Women's World Cup expansion gives hope to future debutants

  • FIFA Council expanded Women’s World Cup to 32 sides

  • 2023 edition set to be first to feature eight extra teams

  • New quota offers hope for potential debutants worldwide

Coming off the back of the global success and interest the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ enjoyed, the expansion of the 2023 edition from 24 to 32 teams presents the chance to spread the excitement even further.

With sights now reset following France and eyes once again trained on reaching the pinnacle of the women’s game, the bolstered selection of potential qualifiers presents raised hopes for those who have fallen just short in the past.

“The expansion reaches far beyond the eight additional participating teams; it means that, from now on, dozens more member associations will organise their women’s football programme knowing they have a realistic chance of qualifying,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino explained following the unanimous decision from the FIFA Council.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the most powerful trigger for the professionalisation of the women’s game, but it comes but once every four years and is only the top of a much greater pyramid.”

Vietnam women's national team pose for a team photo

While a consultation process will look to decide the future allocations – to be then signed off by the FIFA Council – a glance at the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s Ranking shows a whole host of potential debutants who could benefit from the wider array of competitors.

The likes of Panama, Mali, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay and Venezuela, Iceland and Belgium are just a few who know their chances of taking that first bow on the global stage are even closer to being achieved. It’s an incentive that can boost that desire to make the final step even further and grow the women’s game.

“With our current ranking and more slots for Asia, it is chance for us obviously,” Le Hoai Anh, general secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation, explained.

“Recently, VFF has strongly supported the women’s football, especially for the youth teams, so that we would have the best preparation for the future targets (including World Cup participation).”

With the new, expanded future of the Women’s World Cup, the potential is there to see tournaments that will capture the imaginations of even more of the globe, while aspiring hopefuls dreaming of leading their country to a first finals can be inspired by the potential possibilities of appearing on the game's biggest stage.