Te Awamutu youngsters soaked up some of the atmosphere last week at a promotion event in Hamilton for next year’s football World Cup.
The women’s tournament will be held in Australia and New Zealand and Hamilton will host both qualifying and pool games.
The 2019 final of this tournament between Holland and the United States drew an estimated television audience of 263 million. To put that into perspective, the England-South Africa men’s rugby world cup final that year was watched by an estimated 45 million viewers.
Waikato Stadium will host six qualifying series matches next February, when Cameroon, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Haiti, Panama, Senegal and Thailand seek to book places through the intercontinental playoffs.
The tournament – which has been expanded to 32 teams – will be played in nine host cities – including Hamilton – and 10 stadiums.
Hamilton is familiar with high quality women’s football – it hosted matches during the women’s Under-17 world cup finals in 2008 and the quality of some of the football was breath-taking.