Women's World Cup: kick-off in New Zealand and Australia |  TV5MONDE

Women's World Cup: kick-off in New Zealand and Australia | TV5MONDE

The Women's World Cup kicks off on Thursday in Oceania, facing New Zealand – Norway (9 am) and then Australia – Ireland (12 noon), a day full of excitement for the two host countries in Auckland and Sydney, with two record attendance numbers. Expected despite concerns about full stadiums in the archipelago.

The month of competition begins at Eden Park, the legendary temple of rugby and the All Blacks, but it may not be full: 37,000 spectators are expected in the 43,000 seats in the FIFA design.

While Stadium Australia in Sydney will be full (more than 75,000 fans), the international body is trying to address the decline in ticket sales for the 29 matches scheduled in the Oceanian Archipelago.

“It's not too late, we need you, come and watch the matches,” President Gianni Infantino told New Zealand reporters on Wednesday in Auckland during the World Cup launch press conference (July 20-August 20).

New Zealand, far from being a football ground, will host all group stage matches for the United States, the two-time world champion. But only 320,000 tickets were sold in the country out of a total of 1.375 million tickets, or less than a quarter.

Goal: win the match

On Thursday in front of their home fans, the 'Football Ferns' could make history: they have never won a match in the final stage of a World Cup and therefore have never progressed beyond the first round. But they will hope to change that in the match against Norway, the 1995 champions.

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Their best result came at the 2012 London Olympics when they reached the quarter-finals.

Captain Ali Riley commented on Wednesday, saying: “I hope this time we achieve our goal of winning a World Cup match and do it at home, which will make it the best match of my career.” “It is an opportunity for sports culture to inspire young people.”

Facing Norway, widely favored and led by 28-year-old Ada Hegerberg and FC Barcelona midfielder Caroline Graham-Hansen, Czech Republic's Jitka Klimkova will have to change the stats.

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“This is an opportunity for this country to not only be a rugby country, but also to reignite its love of football,” the Kiwi coach said.

On the other hand, the Norwegians are one of the great historical countries in women's football, but they have left their mark in recent years, with a quarter-final loss to England (3-0) in 2019, and especially a group defeat during the last Euro against the same English (8-0). .

Later in the day, the Socceroos, led by Sam Kerr, the 29-year-old symbolic captain, will face Ireland's Katie McCabe, the Arsenal striker.

Matildas is on a mission

The goal: to launch the competition in the best possible way, which could be historic for the yellow and green, worn by an entire country. The Holy Union will be measured starting Thursday, but it actually crystallized last Friday against France (1-0) during the last preparatory match.

If the Australians want to go far in the World Cup, they will necessarily have to rely on Kerr, the Chelsea striker and Australia star.

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She was really key against France, causing problems with her depth for Wendi Renard and the French defence.

“We are very confident, but what matters to us is the first match,” she said Wednesday in a press conference. “At the moment, we are playing this match without thinking about anything else, so it is the final match for us at this stage.” .

She continued, “I think everyone is looking forward to it instead of worrying about the crowds. Everyone knows they are on our side.”

At the last World Cup, where Australia were eliminated by Norway in the round of 16 on penalties, she scored five goals. His stats are impressive this season with the Blues, scoring 29 goals in 38 appearances.

After several defeats last year, the Australians have enjoyed a run of seven straight wins since October, including victories over Denmark, Sweden and Spain. Despite the defeat by Scotland last April, which distorted the table, the Matildas subsequently beat England, the European champions.

Their best World Cup result dates back to 2015 by reaching the quarter-finals, just as they did in 2011 and 2007.

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