Australian football fans will have a great opportunity to witness the Westfield Matildas in action ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in France when the team features in the inaugural ‘Cup of Nations’ on home soil in late February and early March 2019.
Football Federation Australia (FFA), with the support of the New South Wales Government, Brisbane City Council, and the Victorian Government, will host the four-nation tournament which will comprise of three double-header matchdays across three states, cities, and stadia, over seven days.
The Cup of Nations will see the Westfield Matildas joined by fellow FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ contestants Argentina, Korea Republic and New Zealand.
The six-match tournament will kick-off at Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah on Thursday, 28 February with Argentina playing Korea Republic followed by the Westfield Matildas against New Zealand. The New Zealand match will take on extra significance as 2019 marks 40 years since the Westfield Matildas played their first ‘A’ international, which was against the Football Ferns, at Sutherland in 1979. The fixture will enable FFA to honour and celebrate the anniversary of the match at a venue close to where the historic fixture was held.
Three days later, the Cup of Nations will shift to Brisbane as Argentina and New Zealand go head to head at Suncorp Stadium, before the Westfield Matildas take on Korea Republic in their second match of the tournament. This will mark the first fixture played by the Westfield Matildas in Brisbane since 2014.
Melbourne’s AAMI Park will play host to the third and final match day of the Cup of Nations on Wednesday, 6 March where Korea Republic will take on New Zealand, and Australia will meet Argentina in the last game of the competition.
Tickets for all matches will go on sale to Australia’s Football Family at 12pm (AEDT) today, and to the General Public from 12pm (AEDT) on Thursday, 20 December 2018.
FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop AM said he is delighted that there will be three opportunities for the Australian public to bid farewell to their football heroes ahead of the commencement of their FIFA Women’s World Cup™ campaign.
“We’ve been working towards hosting a four-nation tournament in Australia for some time and it’s great to finally unveil what we plan on becoming a regular feature of the Australian sporting calendar,” Gallop said.
“We’ve seen the success of other competitions such as the Tournament of Nations in the USA and they’ve helped inspire and inform the creation of the Cup of Nations.
“The 2019 Cup of Nations will present football fans in Australia’s three biggest cities with the opportunity to farewell the Westfield Matildas ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, as well as get a taste of the international football festival that awaits in France.
“All four sides will be aiming for success at the World Cup, and we expect the quality of the six matches to be world-class.
“The opportunity to honour the 40th anniversary of the Matildas’ first ‘A’ international fixture will make the New Zealand match in Sydney a special occasion for the first generation of Matildas who made the sacrifices and laid the foundations for success the team enjoys today,” he said.
Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic, who recently returned from the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ Final Draw in Paris, said playing three matches against high quality international opponents ahead of the World Cup would be great for his team.
“Korea Republic, Argentina, and New Zealand will each offer different challenges for our side which will be fantastic preparation for our group leading up to the tests that await in France,” Stajcic said.
“With a match against the United States also set down for April, we are starting to build out a strong schedule for the Westfield Matildas in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“I’m pleased that, with the assistance of our match partners, we have been able to lock in more games on home soil which will only continue to grow the passion that exists for the Matildas,” he said.
Australia will compete in Group C at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ alongside Italy, Brazil and Jamaica, while New Zealand will contest Group E alongside Canada, Cameroon, and Netherlands. Meanwhile, Korea Republic will play in Group A alongside France, Norway, and Nigeria, while Argentina will face England, Scotland, and Japan in Group D.
Quotes Attributable to ‘Cup of Nations’ Partner Representatives
New South Wales Minister for Tourism and Events, Adam Marshall, said:
“The Cup of Nations is part of the NSW Government’s five-year partnership with Football Federation Australia that is expected to inject more than $20 million into the State’s visitor economy.
“We’re proud to host the first of the matches on New South Wales soil and encourage people from far and wide to make the trip to Kogarah to cheer on our Matildas in what will be an action-packed showcase of women’s football right here in Sydney.
Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, said:
“The Cup of Nations would be a spectacular addition to Brisbane’s 2019 calendar of sport.
“I look forward to welcoming the Westfield Matildas and teams from New Zealand, Argentina and Korea Republic to Brisbane in March 2019 for what will be a thrilling double header at Suncorp Stadium.
“Major and significant events are worth more than $150 million annually to Brisbane and support our hotels, restaurants, cafes and service providers.
Victorian Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events, Martin Pakula, said:
“There was no better place than Australia’s sports capital to host home grown legends like Sam Kerr and her teammates as they warm up against some of the world’s best.
“From the local under 12s to the W-League, women’s football is booming throughout Victoria thanks largely to the feats of the Matildas.
“I encourage all Victorians to come along to AAMI Park to send off our champions in the best possible way before they head off to do us proud in the World Cup.
2019 Cup of Nations – Match Schedule
Date: Sunday, 3 March 2019
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland
Match One: Argentina v New Zealand – 3.05pm kick-off (AEST); 4.05pm (AEDT)
Match Two: Westfield Matildas v Korea Republic – 6.00pm kick-off (AEST); 7.00pm (AEDT)