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FIFA surprised by ‘unprecedented’ demand for 2023 World Cup

(Harold Cunningham/FIFA via Getty Images)

Soccer fans in Australia have been left without tickets for the 2023 Women’s World Cup after FIFA miscalculated the popularity of the event.

A second phase of ticket sales began Tuesday with little communication or prior warning by the sport governing body, which has left many without tickets – including fans clamoring for entry to the Matildas’ opening group-stage game against Ireland in Sydney. That game is scheduled to kick off on Thursday, July 20.

While more tickets will be available for all games during a later sales phase, set to start on April 11, 2023, fans still expressed displeasure with the process.

FIFA previously had announced that its second round of ticket sales would start on Nov. 1. No start time was announced, though, and by the time that the official Twitter account sent out the link, most tickets had been sold.

“I was assuming they’d go on sale at 9 a.m. WST as per every other release but no! Very lucky I had a friend working night shift who just happened to check. Lucky again that I’m an insomniac so saw her message and was able to buy tickets to AUS vs. ROI and AUS vs. CAN for a friend. At 3 a.m.!,” one Twitter user said.

Another fan still wasn’t sure “what tix I ended up with” after scrambling to snag them.

In a statement to Australian news outlet ABC, FIFA said the organization had anticipated the 2023 event would be the “biggest” Women’s World Cup yet, but even still there has been an “unprecedented” demand for tickets.

“The demand for passes for many matches at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup has been unprecedented, and this only highlights the growth and popularity of the women’s game as we strive for the biggest and best FIFA WWC in history,” a FIFA spokesperson said.

“We acknowledge that, due to this demand, some fans have been unable to secure passes to some matches so far,” the spokesperson continued. “However, passes for all fixtures will be available in the next sales phase.”

The U.S. women’s national team, which recently announced its roster for upcoming friendlies against Germany, is set to compete in Group E with Vietnam, an inter-confederation playoff winner and 2019 runner-up the Netherlands.

The USWNT will begin play Saturday, July 22, against Vietnam.