The winners of the upcoming OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022 in Fiji will not have to travel far for their FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Play-Off Tournament™ fixtures as the event will take place in the OFC region.
The tournament, which will decide the final three qualifying spots for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™, will be hosted by New Zealand in February.
Games will be played at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium and Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium from February 17-23.
A total of 10 teams will compete in the Play-Off Tournament, including the winners of the OFC Womens Nations Cup being hosted by Fiji from July 13-30.
One team will also qualify from Europe while two teams each will qualify from Asia, Africa, North/Central America/Caribbean and South America.
Thailand and Chinese Taipei have already qualified from Asia with the other nations involved to be decided at the conclusion of their continental tournaments.
In a bonus for local fans, New Zealand’s Football Ferns wil alsol play three friendly matches around the event against the top-seeded team in the tournament and another high-profile guest team which is still to be confirmed.
Speaking of the announcement, FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman said the new competition will provide an opportunity for more teams to play at the top level.
“The decision in 2019 to expand the FIFA Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams, has already had a significant impact on the wider growth and development of the women’s game,” said Bareman.
“More nations now have the chance to play on the world’s biggest stage and this all starts with the Play-Off Tournament.
“I cannot wait for fans to get their first taste of what to expect later next year when the Play-Off commences before the biggest women’s sporting event in the world kicks off in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand on 20 July 2023.”
FWWC2023 New Zealand COO Jane Patterson said Kiwis will look forward to welcoming the 10 qualifying teams and fans from across the globe.
“The Play-Off Tournament and the friendlies will provide fans of all ages the opportunity to watch nations from around the world vie for the final three qualification spots as the excitement continues to build towards FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.”
New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said the tournament is just the first step in a very exciting year for women’s football.
“To have so much international football right here on our doorstep is very exciting for Aotearoa New Zealand and there is more to come,” said Pragnell.
“With so much top football on display we know Kiwis will get behind our Football Ferns with the global spotlight on them in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.”
Courtesy of FIFA Media