China. Sweden. The United States. France. Germany. Canada. What is one thing all these countries have in common? From 1991 to 2019, they have all hosted at least one edition of the Women’s World Cup. Although the 2019 edition of the tournament ended just months ago, bids for the 2023 World Cup have already been submitted and narrowed down to just four countries: Brazil, Colombia, Japan, and Australia, a country that has expressed interest in a joint bid with its neighbor, New Zealand. Belgium, Bolivia, South Africa, Argentina, and South Korea, as well as possibly North Korea, were either removed from the list or withdrew their bids last year. The tournament is still over three years away, but FIFA is expected to reveal the official host of the 2023 Women’s World Cup this June, after visiting each of the potential sites. Although Australia and New Zealand appear to be in the lead, each country still has a chance, as well as reasons why they should and should not host the competition.
Australia & New Zealand
Although Australia had originally entered the pool as a single bid when FIFA voted to expand the tournament to 32 teams instead of 24, they joined with New Zealand Australia and New Zealand have both considerably developed their respective women’s teams over the past few years, and would make excellent hosts for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. They are currently considered favorites for the appointment and plan to have 13 stadiums in 12 different cities, including Brisbane, Auckland, Wellington, and Melbourne, with a final taking place in Sydney. All the stadiums, with the exception of one, can seat over 20,000, and the stadium in Sydney that is designated for the final can seat 70,000. Australia and New Zealand are first-world, developed countries that would attract large crowds of people and help with the popularity of the women’s game, and it makes sense that they are the front-runners to be awarded the bid.
Brazil and Colombia
What comes to mind when one thinks of Brazil may include political unrest, mosquitoes, and poor economic situations, but the truth is that even though Brazil is considered a “developing country” it has hosted major tournaments before, including the 2016 Summer Olympics, and there are several nice areas that contain large stadiums capable of encompassing the large crowds, such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and the nation’s capital, Brasilia. Brazil’s women’s soccer team has also been one of the best in the world for years, their highlight players including the legendary Marta, Cristiane, and Debinha. Columbia is the second South American country that made it to the top four potential hosts of the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Unlike Brazil, however, Colombia isn’t known for its major cities and stadiums, or for previously hosting large tournaments and competitions, which puts it pretty low on the list of likely hosts for the 2023 World Cup.
In the sports world, Japan is currently at the forefront because its capital city of Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympics later this year. Hosting the Olympics is no easy feat, and it proves that Japan could also host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, especially because for that tournament, they would only have to focus on one sport and thirty-two countries, unlike the Olympics, which involves over 200 countries and over thirty sports. Japan has many industrial areas and large cities with stadiums for the competition, and its women’s soccer team even won the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany, proving that they have prominence in the women’s soccer world. Japan has hosted several international friendlies and smaller tournaments, and it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that they would likely receive the honor of hosting in 2023 if Australia and New Zealand do not.
FIFA is planning to visit each of the potential hosts in January and February of 2020 and to publish the results of their visits by April. Two months later, in June, they are expected to announce which country or countries will be hosting the 2023 World Cup-whether that is Japan, Brazil, Colombia, or Australia and New Zealand.