Australia and New Zealand have welcomed football fans from across the globe, as the southern hemisphere hosts the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the very first time. And Sydney is at the heart of it, hosting 11 matches as well as an eclectic range of off-the-pitch festivities during the month-long tournament, which runs July 20 to August 20.
A game to watch is Australia’s match against Canada on Monday July 31. The Aussie team, known as the Matildas, go into the cup among the favourites – though they’re up against some stiff competition, including World Cup holders the United States.
And alongside all the games, there’s going to be plenty going on in Sydney, so we’ve put together your pocket guide to getting the most out of a jam-packed celebration of football.
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The games to watch
As well as the opening match, there are several other key games to keep on your radar. The Matildas will play Canada on July 31 and one to watch for is France vs Panama on August 2. The knockout stage begins on August 5, and the centrepiece match, the World Cup final, will take place in Sydney on August 20.
FIFA Fan Festival
Emotions can run pretty high during matches, particularly if you’re a diehard football fan. But if you haven’t managed to get your hands on tickets to the matches, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on sharing the emotional load with other fans. The FIFA Fan Festival will descend on Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour for the duration of the tournament, with events for both avid and casual fans.
Entry to the festival is free and will include coverage of every game (broadcast on giant screens) – a vibrant atmosphere is assured, as screaming is not only accepted, but encouraged. The FIFA Fan Festival will also host a rotating daily line-up of DJs across the month. The food and drink is also not to be missed, with a range of street food to choose from. There’ll also be merch shops on-site, and you can even test your own football skills.
Activities for non-game days
Your schedule is likely to be pretty packed, but you’ll definitely have days with no matches to watch. On those days, you should make it a priority to head slightly outside of hustle and bustle of Sydney to the multicultural culinary melting pot that is Harris Park for dinner. We recommend trying Chatkazz or Not Just Curries for some authentic Indian dishes.
After dinner, head to Nick and Nora’s in Parramatta, located just a short drive away from Harris Park. Here you’ll find an extensive cocktail menu and over 800 choices of whisky – to be enjoyed with a stunning rooftop view. If you’re keen for something a little more low-key (and appropriate for younger family members), Riverside Theatre is just around the corner too, so you can catch a film or see a show, depending on the night you’re there.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Destination NSW.