Soccer-Australia's Women's World Cup opener to be held at Stadium Australia

FILE PHOTO: Tazuni, the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 official mascot, makes a first Australian appearance alongside junior players to celebrate the FIFA Volunteer Programme launch in Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2022. REUTERS/Martin Keep/File Photo

(Reuters) - The 2023 Women's World Cup co-hosts Australia will kick off their campaign against Ireland at the 83,500 capacity Stadium Australia, Sydney's largest stadium, due to public demand for more tickets, FIFA said on Monday.

The match was originally scheduled to take place at the Sydney Football Stadium, which seats 45,500, but FIFA decided to change the original plan for the Australia Stadium to only host knockout games.

This will allow up to 100,000 fans to attend the tournament's opening matchday games, with the showdown between Australia's fellow co-hosts New Zealand and Norway taking place hours before at Eden Park in Auckland.

"FIFA’s mission is to organise the biggest and best Women’s World Cup in history this year and fans, those who bring colour, passion, and atmosphere to Stadiums, will be such an integral part of the tournament's success," said FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura in a statement.

"With this in mind, we have taken a decision that will enable over 100,000 fans to attend the opening matchday, providing more opportunities for supporters to engage with the FIFA Women’s World Cup as a month of football we will never forget gets underway."

The New Zealand-Norway opening match will be on July 20 at 1900 local time. The Matildas face Ireland at 2000 hours AEST and the sale of extra tickets for that game begins on Feb. 24.

(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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