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Opening match of 2023 World Cup moved to 83,500-capacity stadium

Led by star Sam Kerr, Australia will serve as a co-host for the 2023 World Cup. (Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The opening match of the 2023 World Cup has moved to the 83,500-capacity Stadium Australia to accommodate the demand for tickets, Football Australia announced Monday.

The Matildas will host Ireland at the Sydney stadium on July 20 to kick off the tournament in their home country. The match will get underway just a few hours after co-host New Zealand opens its tournament against Norway at Eden Park in Auckland.

Australia’s opener was slated for Sydney Football Stadium, which holds just over 45,000 spectators. Instead, it has been moved to the largest stadium in Sydney. Between Eden Park and Stadium Australia, more than 100,000 fans now will be able to attend the two games on the first matchday of the tournament.

“The move from Sydney Football Stadium to Stadium Australia is big for Australian football and highlights the confidence which we have in the Matildas to draw a huge crowd for the first match of the tournament in Australia,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson said in a news release.

Stadium Australia also holds the record for the largest attendance at an Australia women’s national team match, set in 2021 when 36,109 fans showed up to watch the Matildas take on the USWNT.

“This move, which Football Australia strongly advocated for, completely aligns with our positioning of the Matildas as one of our two iconic national teams and one of Australia’s most loved sporting teams,” Johnson said.

Earlier this month, FIFA announced that more than 500,000 tickets have been sold for the World Cup this summer.

“FIFA’s mission is to organize the biggest and best Women’s World Cup in history this year and fans, those who bring color, passion, and atmosphere to Stadiums, will be such an integral part of the tournament’s success,” FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura said 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.”