After the Republic of Ireland's historic 1-0 victory against Scotland on Oct. 11th, the women's national team is going to the Fifa World Cup for the first time. Here are the eight things you need to know about the tournament!
1. When is it happening?
July 20- August 20 2023.
Rumors have been flying that moving the tournament to October or November was being considered, possibly for weather reasons — August is a winter month for Australia and New Zealand, where the tournament will be held — but Fifa has confirmed it will take place according to the original plan, in July and August.
2. Where is it happening?
Australia and New Zealand.
This is the first time the tournament will be hosted jointly by two countries. The opening match will take place in Eden Park in Auckland, and the final will be held in Stadium Australia in Sydney. Other venues include Brisbane Stadium and the Sydney Football Stadium.
3. How many teams are competing?
This is the first time this many teams are competing. 24 teams competed in the last World Cup in 2019.
4. Which teams are qualified so far?
Alongside The Republic of Ireland, 28 other teams have qualified so far:
Australia (co-hosts), New Zealand (co-hosts), China (AFC), Japan (AFC), Philippines (AFC), South Korea (AFC), Vietnam (AFC), Morocco (CAF), Nigeria (CAF), South Africa (CAF), Zambia (CAF), Canada (CONCACAF), Costa Rica (CONCACAF), Jamaica (CONCACAF), United States (CONCACAF), Argentina (CONMEBOL), Brazil (CONMEBOL), Colombia (CONMEBOL), Denmark (UEFA), England (UEFA), France (UEFA), Germany (UEFA), Italy (UEFA), Netherlands (UEFA), Norway (UEFA), Spain (UEFA), Sweden (UEFA) and Switzerland (UEFA).
Ten teams will compete in the inter-confederation playoff tournament in February for the remaining three spots. It will be held in New Zealand.
5. Who are the favorites?
Defending 2019 champions the U.S., who also won the 2015 World Cup, will be looking to be win a third title. Other favorites include Spain, Germany, and Euros 2022 champions England.
6. Why is this so important for Ireland?
This is the first time in history that Ireland has qualified for a major tournament. It comes at a time when women's soccer is garnering increasing attention after record-breaking attendance and excitement surrounding the 2022 Euros this summer — the playoffs of which the Republic of Ireland failed to qualify for after a painful 1-0 loss to Ukraine. WNT Coach Vera Pauw has pointed to that disappointment as a motivating factor in Ireland's recent victory, saying "We said there in the dressing room 'We are going to the World Cup, this will not happen to us again' and that determination has brought us to where we are."
7. How does the draw work?
Teams will be drawn in eight groups of four, with the top two of each group progressing. Ireland can expect some stiff competition, but they start in Pot Three along with Denmark, Switzerland, Colombia, Argentina, Vietnam, Costa Rica, and Jamaica. The draw will take place Oct. 22.
8. Where are tickets for sale?
Tickets packages are already available on the Fifa Website and individual match passes will be available there soon.