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Final call: Stadium Australia ‘emotionally important’ to football

Football Australia is celebrating FIFA’s decision to award Sydney the 2023 Women’s World Cup final as recognition that Stadium Australia is “important emotionally” to the game in this country and has not ruled out building a home of football in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct.

While the 83,000 capacity venue was always favoured to be selected as the final venue for the next women’s World Cup, being the largest venue included in the bid book, FA chief James Johnson said confirmation from Zurich further entrenched the venue as the home of Australia’s national teams.

“Emotionally important”: Stadium Australia announced as the final venue of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

“Emotionally important”: Stadium Australia announced as the final venue of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.Credit:Getty

It’s a venue synonymous with the success of the Socceroos, from Australia’s 2005 triumph over Uruguay in the World Cup qualifier to their 2015 Asian Cup title win. Since its construction in 1999, Australia has enjoyed a dominant record at a venue previously dubbed “Fortress Australia”.

The Socceroos have won 10 of their 12 competitive games at Olympic Park and lost just once in a dead rubber against China in a qualifier for the 2010 World Cup.

Johnson hopes the venue delivers similar success for the Matildas, who are yet to play a competitive match at the venue.

“If we go back to our ‘XI Principles’ and our 15-year vision, we talk a lot about the importance of reconnecting our history,” Johnson said. “Here on this pitch, we have Johnny Aloisi who scored the famous penalty in 2005. We had the Asian Cup in 2015, where we won here on this pitch.

“We will have the women’s World Cup final in August 2023 on this pitch. This is an important stadium emotionally for the Australian football community and we are very happy this is where the final is going to be.”

Despite the MCG being Australia’s largest venue, it was not available for the tournament due to the heavy traffic of AFL games to be played during August in 2023. Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium is the next largest Australian venue available to the tournament. Eden Park in Auckland is the largest in New Zealand and will host the opening round.

The other host cities selected by FIFA on Thursday morning were Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide; AAMI Park in Melbourne; Perth Stadium; the new Sydney Football Stadium; Wellington Stadium, Dunedin Stadium and Waikato Stadium in Hamilton. Newcastle, Launceston and Christchurch were the three proposed venues scratched by FIFA.

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