Hamilton will be one of the first cities to get a slice of the Fifa Women's World Cup 2023 action, after being confirmed as a co-host for an inaugural playoff tournament in February.
With just over a year until the ninth Fifa Women's World Cup is hosted in Australasia in July, it was announced this week that Hamilton's FMG Stadium Waikato will take the lead in co-hosting the playoff tournament, along with North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
This event is a new concept for the 2023 tournament and will have 10 top women's football teams from across the globe take to Waikato Stadium to compete for the final three qualifying spots in the Women's World Cup.
Along with this, the Football Ferns, who have already qualified for the Women's World Cup, will play a series of friendly matches with the competing teams throughout the tournament. This will give Hamiltonians a rare opportunity to see our national team in action and to climb aboard the Football Ferns fan train.
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Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said the city was a fantastic centre for sport and top-level women's sport in particular.
"We've hosted the Women's Cricket World Cup here, and the modified women's Super Rugby. We host world-class netball matches at Claudelands and now we've got the Fifa Women's World Cup on the horizon. It's brilliant. It offers wonderful opportunities for people in our city and it exposes what we have here in Hamilton to a worldwide audience."
Hamilton is one of four host cities in New Zealand to welcome the Fifa Women's World Cup 2023, with the others being Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin. Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide will also be host cities for the tournament.
The event is set to be one of the biggest sporting events on Australasian soil since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, with the playoff tournament expected to bring significant benefits to the New Zealand economy.
Nine teams (China, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Vietnam from Asia, and France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden from Europe) have now qualified for the Women's World Cup 2023 and will join the two host nations – Australia and New Zealand.
Chinese Taipei and Thailand have qualified for the playoff tournament. Qualifying matches continue until late October to determine the remaining eight spots.
The Fifa Women's World Cup will begin on July 20, 2023, and continue until August 20.