By Harry Awurumibe, Editor-in-Chief, Abuja
With five months to 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kick off, four-time champions, United States of America (USA) look good to defend their 2019 title in Australia and New Zealand.
This is even as Team USA is embarking on a training tour of New Zealand where they are billed to play two games on the bounce to prepare for the global women’s football fiesta which the country wants to win yet again.
The competition will for the first time, feature 32 teams; eight more than in 2019 in France which the Americans won after defeating the Netherlands in the epic final in Lyon.
However, during the camp in New Zealand, Team USA will play two-game series on January 17 and 20 against the Women’s World Cup co-host nation to enable the team handlers to assess the preparedness of the players.
In another development, Team USA will participate in the annual SheBelieves Cup in United States from February 16-22 and will host Brazil, Nigeria’s opponent- Canada and Japan in the four-team tournament.
All four countries have already qualified for the 2023 World Cup and are ranked in the top 11 in the world, with the USA at No. 1; Canada at No. 6; Brazil at No. 9 and Japan at No. 11.
Also, Women’s World Cup action begins in February with a play-off tournament, where 10 teams will vie for the final three spots in 2023 tournament.
As for prize money, while the final numbers have yet to be released, it’s expected that the FIFA will more than double the prize money for 2023.
In 2019 in France, the women’s prize money was $30 million- with the U.S. women winning $4 million- and reports suggest that figure reach $69 million or more for 2023.
Although that amount is still a far cry from the men’s 2022 World Cup prize pool, where Argentina took home $42 million of the $440 million total.