New Zealand Hosts First Women’s World Cup Play-Off Tournament

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The inaugural tournament will be played in Hamilton and Auckland from 17 to 23 February 2023; 10 teams to compete for the final three slots for FIFA ( Women’s World Cup 2023™; Play-Off Tournament, the main test event in preparation for 2023

Waikato Stadium in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa and North Harbor Stadium in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau were announced today as host cities for the first Play-Off Tournament for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup (FWWC2023).

The tournament, which will be held in New Zealand on 17-23 February 2023, will see 10 teams vying for the final three qualifying spots before the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

Speaking about the announcement, FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman said the new competition would provide opportunities for more teams to play at the top level.

“The decision in 2019 to expand the FIFA Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams, has had a significant impact on the broader growth and development of the women’s game. More countries now have the opportunity to play on the biggest stage in the world and it all starts with the Play-Off Tournament.

“I can’t wait for the fans to get a taste of what to expect late next year when the Play-Offs kick off before the world’s biggest women’s sporting event kicks off in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand on 20 July 2023.”

And as a bonus for fans, Football Ferns from New Zealand will play three friendlies around the event against the top seeds in the tournament and other top-flight visitors yet to be confirmed.

FWWC2023 New Zealand COO Jane Patterson said Kiwis would look forward to welcoming 10 qualified teams and fans from around the world.

“The Play-Off Tournament and friendlies will give fans of all ages the opportunity to watch countries from around the world compete for the final three qualifying spots as excitement continues to mount heading into the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

Patterson added that the Play-Off Tournament would be the main test event to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup five months later.

“This will provide FIFA, Host Cities, stadiums, training grounds and Government with the opportunity to test operational readiness, infrastructure and resources. Holding a competition of the size and scale of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is a very exciting opportunity, so hosting the Play-Off Tournament and test readiness will be a real asset.”

New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said the tournament was just the first step in a very exciting year for women’s football.

“Having so much international football here on our doorstep is exciting for Aotearoa New Zealand and there is much more to come.

“With so much top football on display, we knew the Kiwis would be backing our Football Ferns with a global spotlight on them ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

Format for participating teams ( was first announced in December 2020 and now the full match schedule is available via the following link (

The 10 teams participating in the Play-Off Tournament will come from Asia (two), Africa (two), North and Central America and the Caribbean (two), South America (two), Europe (one), and Oceania (one).

Two countries from Asia – Thailand and Chinese Taipei – have confirmed their participation with the remaining eight teams to qualify for the Play-off Tournament via their continental tournaments.

Qualifiers for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup continue to gather pace ahead of the ‘One Year To Go’ milestone on 20 July. The tournament across the four confederations will see teams from Africa, North and Central America, Oceania and South America secure qualification throughout the month of July. Meanwhile in Europe, the remaining qualifiers will end in the September and October windows.

China PR, Japan, Republic of Korea, Philippines and Vietnam from Asia and France, Spain, Sweden and Denmark from Europe have already secured their places in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and will join the two host nations – Australia and New Zealand.

Keep up to date ( with the latest news about FWWC23 tickets. More information on tickets for the Play-Off Tournament will be released later this year.

Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of FIFA.

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New Zealand Hosts First Women’s World Cup Play-Off Tournament

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