Amber Phillips is good enough to push for a place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Paul Ifill says. PHOTO/FILE

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

The chance to represent New Zealand on their home turf should be the target for the Tumu ITM Wairarapa United players.

That’s according to the club’s women’s coach, Paul Ifill, who was thrilled with the news that New Zealand and Australia will host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The 2019 Women’s World Cup reportedly attracted a global audience of 1.12 billion, 150 million more than the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and the Wellington Phoenix legend said New Zealanders don’t realise how big the tournament is.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s massive, it’s the second biggest tournament after the men’s world cup.”

He said the tournament gives the players something to aim for.

“I look at Nina [Kondo] and people like Tui [Dugan], the younger ones in the squad. Somebody 18 or 19 will play at that World Cup for New Zealand and why can’t it be them? That’s the conversation I’ll be having with them two, in particular.

“And there’s no reason why some of the older ones – I mean Amber [Phillips] is good enough if she wants to switch her mind to it. They should be saying why can’t I be there, and can I bridge that gap between now and then?”

The tournament will be the first Women’s World Cup to be played in the southern hemisphere and the first to include 32 teams.

The 64 games will be split between New Zealand and Australia, with the opening game scheduled for Eden Park, Auckland.

There is also the possibility of New Zealand hosting quarterfinals and one semifinal.

Ifill said that Kiwi sporting fans will be in for a treat.

“You’re going to see some very good football. I mean the US national team – the defending champions – are sensational. You’ve got Brazil, and Spain doing great things these days and Germany are very good.”

The tournament will be played in July and August 2023.