Matildas’ opening 2023 Women’s World Cup game against Republic of Ireland to be moved to Stadium Australia

Matildas’ opening 2023 Women’s World Cup game against Republic of Ireland to be moved to Stadium Australia

The Matildas will kick off their 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign in front of a potential record crowd, with FIFA confirming their opening group game against the Republic of Ireland will be moved to the tournament’s biggest venue, Stadium Australia.

Key points: The opening group stage match will now take place at a venue nearly double the size of the original. Organizers are hoping to set a new home attendance record for a Matildas game. FIFA has confirmed an additional ticket sales window will open at 12:00 p.m. AEDT on opening. February 24th

Australia’s first match on July 20 was originally scheduled to take place at the newly renovated Sydney Football Stadium, which has a capacity of 42,500.

However, demand for tickets was so great – with every allocation window sold out within days – that the organizers decided to move the match to the stadium which holds around twice as many people (83,500) and will host the final.

All tickets already purchased for the Matildas’ opener will remain valid, with fans to be notified of the venue change shortly by email.

As a result of the move, FIFA will open an additional ticket sales window for the match, starting on Friday 24 February at 12pm AEDT and closing on 3 March.

The ABC also understands that more tickets for other, non-Matildas matches will also be made available during this additional window after several previous allocations were quickly exhausted.

There will also be a last-minute ticket window that opens on Tuesday, April 11, 100 days before the opening game.

Organizers are encouraging fans to sign up for FIFA email alerts to avoid missing out on exact release times.

That’s what appeared to happen late last year when Australia-based fans woke up only to discover that some Matildas game awards had already sold out.

More than 500,000 tickets have already been sold for the co-presented tournament, with FIFA targeting more than 1.5 million fans across the event.

The move to Stadium Australia could also see the Matildas set a home attendance record, which currently stands at 36,109 – a milestone reached when world champions USA come down for a friendly series in November 2021.

FIFA are hoping to smash the Matildas’ home attendance record, which currently stands at 36,109 people. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

And while the Republic of Ireland is not a powerhouse in the women’s game, ranked just 24th in the world, Australia’s large Irish expat community is expected to turn out for all three of the country’s group matches.

Indeed, if the game were to sell out entirely, it could become the second largest crowd in World Cup history, as well as the fifth most attended women’s soccer match ever, surpassing the 80,203 who watched the gold medal match between the USA and Japan at Wembley during the 2012 London Olympics.

“FIFA’s mission is to organize the biggest and best Women’s World Cup in history this year, and fans – those who bring colour, passion and atmosphere to stadiums – will be an integral part of the tournament’s success,” FIFA said Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

“With this in mind, we have taken a decision that will enable more than 100,000 fans to attend the opening match day, providing more opportunities for fans to engage with the FIFA Women’s World Cup than a month of football we’ll never forget to get going.”

Venue staff will have their work cut out for them, however, with the third NRL State of Origin match expected to be played eight days before the Matildas’ game at Stadium Australia.

FIFA usually requires a two-week break between sports before World Cup matches, but organizers are confident that any damage to the surface can be repaired in time.

The Matildas will face the Republic of Ireland, Nigeria and Canada in the group stage. (Getty Images: FIFA/Matt Roberts)

“It’s going to be an incredible start to the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year,” said FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman.

“Two absolutely massive games, and we expect over 100,000 fans to fill those two stadiums and take in that momentous moment.

“It’s going to be a huge day for women’s football because we’re also going to have our fan festivals going on, with tens of thousands of people there, as well as millions of fans watching on broadcast all over the world.

“So we are definitely pushing this tournament beyond greatness and the opening match day we will definitely show that.

“It’s absolutely incredible that the Republic of Ireland have qualified for a Women’s World Cup for the first time ever. What a big, big moment for that country and for women’s football.

“We know that there is a large expat community in Australia from Ireland, and they also have a large traveling fan base, which is all the more reason for us to consider this relocation of stadiums and as many seats as possible for those fans allow to fill.”

The Matildas’ final preparations will begin next month with The Cup Of Nations friendly tournament, which will see them host the Czech Republic, Spain and Jamaica, with two more international windows available before the start of the World Cup.

Australia will face the Republic of Ireland in Sydney on July 20, Nigeria in Brisbane on July 27 and Canada in Melbourne on July 31.

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