Record-breaking Women's World Cup Kicks Off in Australia and New Zealand Amid Tragedy and Hope
|Record-breaking Women's World Cup Kicks Off in Australia and New Zealand Amid Tragedy and Hope(Image-Getty)
Australia and New Zealand are set to co-host the ninth Women's World Cup on Thursday, undeterred by a shooting incident near the Norwegian team hotel in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Tragically, the shooting left three people dead and six others injured, including the shooter, but authorities confirmed that the danger had passed, and there was no threat to national security, according to New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
The tournament's opening match between New Zealand's Football Ferns and Norway will proceed as planned at Eden Park in Auckland at 7 p.m. local time. It is expected to attract a record-breaking crowd for an international soccer match in New Zealand.
FIFA, the governing body of football, reassured teams in the area that the incident was isolated and unrelated to football operations, and they fully support the opening match.
Meanwhile, the Australian team, the Matildas, will kick off their campaign against the Republic of Ireland at Stadium Australia in Sydney at 10 a.m. GMT. This match is already sold out, with around 70,000 fans expected to attend, marking a record attendance for a women's soccer match in Australia.
The growth of women's soccer has been significant worldwide, with increasing participation of female players and growing interest from spectators. While progress has been made, there are still disparities between the conditions and support for female footballers compared to their male counterparts in many countries.
The Women's World Cup is highly anticipated in both Australia and New Zealand, with Australian fans showing immense support for their team, led by star striker Sam Kerr. In New Zealand, the demand for tickets has been somewhat slower, but organizers remain optimistic about the event's success.
Despite the challenges and ongoing issues surrounding the women's game, the tournament is seen as a game-changer and an opportunity to raise awareness and promote women's sport globally. The hope is that it will also have a transformative effect on women's participation in sports within the local communities of the host nations.