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The FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will see 32 teams competing for the first time. The German team are also strong favourites. The aim: World Cup title number three.
The FIFA Congress decided to enlarge the tournament from 24 to 32 teams at the end of July 2019, immediately after the last World Cup in France. The draw for the eight qualifying groups was made in October 2022. Altogether ten venues were named for the 64 World Cup fixtures – six in Australia and four in New Zealand.
Nothing has fundamentally changed in the World Cup mode. After the three group matches that each team must complete, the best two in each case get into the round of sixteen, which is a single-elimination tournament. If these games end in a draw after 90 minutes, they go into extra time. If the score is till tied after extra time, the teams must face each other in a penalty shoot-out. The teams that get through the round of sixteen, the quarter-finals and the semi-finals will play in the final in the impressive Stadium Australia in Sydney on 20 August in front of up to 83,500 spectators.
Spectator-friendly kick-off times
One new feature that will surprise even out-and-out football fans is the high number of different kick-off times. Already in the group stage, matches will kick off at twelve different times between 12.00 noon and 8.30 p.m. local time. The background to this is FIFA’s decision that as few people as possible around the world should miss their teams’ matches. The USA, for example, will therefore be active during the Central European night, whereas UEFA teams like Germany will play mainly in the morning or afternoon, Central European Time.
Opener in Melbourne
The German team will be playing their three group matches in Australia, starting on 24 July against Morocco in the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, which is used for both football and rugby matches. For football matches, there is the possibility of erecting additional stands behind the goals which are removed again for rugby matches to allow space for the in-goal area. The futuristic-looking stadium in the second biggest city on the Australian continent has a spherical dome construction with a triangular lattice structure that extends over most of the seats. The façade is equipped with thousands of programmable LEDs which can display any patterns and graphics, promising spectacular evening atmospheres.
Against Colombia in Sydney
For their second game on 30 July against Colombia, national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s team will appear at the Sydney Football Stadium in Australia’s biggest city. It was built on the site of the stadium of the same name that was demolished in 2019 and only officially opened in 2022. Here too, both football and rugby matches are played.
Way up north against South Korea
The last group match on 3 August against South Korea will take place way up in the north-east of the continent. The venue will be the Brisbane Stadium, which has room for 52,500 spectators. To turn the stadium – which first opened in 1956 – into a modern venue, the decision to carry out a thorough refurbishment was taken at the end of the 1990s. Most of the stands were torn down and rebuilt. Incidentally: Until 1875, this was where Brisbane’s main cemetery was located.
A winning mentality to overcome recent disappointment
Getting through the group stage shouldn’t be a major problem for the German team. All the same, fans of captain Alexandra Popp’s team should still take a look at the games in the other groups. For there are some real football heavyweights in the round of sixteen. Entering the race as top favourite is the US team, which has already managed to take the title four times. The European champions, England, are also in the running, and the Swedes, French, Canadians, Spanish, Brazilians and Japanese also reckon they have a chance of winning.
The German women don’t need to hide from any of the teams. After their narrow defeat in the 2022 European Cup, they are hungry for a title.
The German team’s dates:
ARD and ZDF will be broadcasting all the World Cup matches on linear TV.
Text: Martin Sulkowsky
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