Auckland to host 2023 women's World Cup opener, final in Sydney

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Photoshoot - Eden Park Stadium- Eden Park Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand - November 1, 1999 General view inside the stadium REUTERS/Action Images

(Reuters) - Eden Park in Auckland will host the opening game of the 2023 women's World Cup with the final taking place in Stadium Australia in Sydney, soccer's world governing body FIFA said on Wednesday as it announced the nine host cities for the tournament.

Adelaide, Brisbane, Dunedin, Hamilton, Melbourne, Perth and Wellington were the other seven cities in Australia and New Zealand selected to host matches.

Australia and New Zealand will host one semi-final each with the full schedule to be announced later this year, FIFA added.

"The appointment of the nine host cities represents a major milestone for the next FIFA women's World Cup, as well as for players and fans across Australia, New Zealand and around the world," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

Football Australia President Chris Nikou said: "The women's World Cup 2023 will be the biggest sporting event on Australian soil since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, showcasing Australia and New Zealand to a global audience of over a billion people."

New Zealand Football President Johanna Wood said it would be a privilege to co-host the tournament with Australia, adding: "We have and will continue to work with our partners to deliver the biggest, most exciting and best tournament to date."

Australia and New Zealand qualify for the World Cup as hosts. The tournament will be the first women's World Cup to feature 32 teams.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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