A guide to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Aussie team, the Matildas, are set to kick off their 2023 World Cup campaign and experts say they have a good chance of making the finals. Find out what makes them a strong team this year
READING LEVEL: GREEN
Get your green and gold on – the Matildas are ready to kick off at the FIFA Women’s World Cup tonight in Sydney.
The national team will have the hopes and support of Australia behind them as they play in one of football’s biggest competitions on home ground.
Sporting experts say the Matildas have a good chance of winning the Cup thanks to their line-up of talented players and the fact they have beaten every top-10 team in the past.
WHAT IS THE FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP?
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is a global female soccer tournament that takes place every four years.
Thirty-two teams from across the world compete against each other with eight round-robin groups. Each of the groups are made up of four teams. The top two teams from each group make it through to finals.
The women’s World Cup was first played in China in 1991 with 12 teams. Over time, the number of teams grew to 24.
This year is the first World Cup to have 32 teams like the men’s World Cup.
It is also the first year that the Cup has been held in two countries, New Zealand and Australia.
About 1.25 million tickets have been sold across Australia and New Zealand, making the 2023 World Cup the biggest stand-alone women’s sporting event ever.
WHO ARE OUR TOUGHEST OPPONENTS?
The top four teams in the world are the US, Germany, Sweden and England. The US are the strong favourites after winning the previous two World Cups in 2019 and 2015.
WHEN DO THE MATILDAS PLAY?
The Matildas play their first game tonight (Thursday) in Sydney at 8pm against Ireland.
Their next games will be on July 27 against Nigeria and on July 31 against Canada.
CAN AUSTRALIA WIN IT?
The Matildas are ranked 10th in the world but many sporting experts believe they have a good chance of winning the Cup.
The Aussies have beaten every other team in the top 10 before and they know what they are up against. They also have a strong line-up of players.
Australian captain Sam Kerr has been described as the best finisher (or goal-kicker) in the world game. She plays very well under pressure and kicked the winning goal in the FA Cup final for her English club Chelsea in May.
Other talented players are Caitlin Foord, who is known as the danger player for the Matildas, Steph Catley, and Mary Fowler who scored against France last week in a warm-up match. This was played in front of a record crowd of 50,000 people.
Clare Polkinghorne, Alex Chidiac and Emily van Egmond are known as game changers and will be a big help when they come off the bench to give the Matildas a boost.
The Matildas need to finish at least second in their round robin (Group B) to make it into the knockout round of 16. If they keep winning in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, they could make the World Cup final.
History shows the Matildas are a strong team. Previous teams made the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cups in 2007, 2011 and 2015 and the Round of 16 in 2019. They could make it again this year.
SYDNEY PENGUINS PREDICT WIN
It’s not just the Australian people that believe the Matildas could win.
Gentoo penguins at Sydney’s Sea Life Aquarium have “predicted” the Matildas will win their first match against Ireland tonight.
Their keepers held Australian and Irish flags and let the penguins decide which flag to kick a soccer ball to.
The penguins kicked the Official Women’s World Cup football to the Aussie flag.
Penguin Keeper Vanja Jugovic said the aquarium was excited to put the penguins psychic skills to the test.
“We’re certain our little helpers put their best webbed foot forward when backing our Matildas to win!”
- national: something or someone that belongs to a country
- global: something that includes many different countries
- tournament: a sporting contest that includes a series of games
- round-robin: a tournament where every team plays against each other in turn
- stand-alone: by itself
- psychic: the ability to see into the future
1. What year was the first Women’s World Cup played?
2. Who is the captain of Australian team the Matildas?
3. How often is the World Cup held?
4. What team are the Matildas playing against in their first World Cup game for 2023?
5. What team is number one in the world game?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. Write a Song
Write the words for a song or a chant that could be sung by the fans to cheer the Matildas at each of their games at the Women’s World Cup. Your song or chant must be catchy and easy to remember!
Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English
Why do you think the Women’s World Cup has grown since 1991? Write a list of reasons. Then write down some ideas that you think will help the Women’s World Cup become even more popular in the future.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and Social Capability
To sum it up
After reading the article, use your comprehension skills to summarise in a maximum of three sentences what the article is about.
What is the main topic or idea?
What is an important or interesting fact?
Who was involved (people or places)?
Use your VCOP skills to re-read your summary to make sure it is clear, specific and well punctuated.