The next FIFA Women’s World Cup will be historical for Oceania as Australia and New Zealand are going to co-host the first FIFA Women’s World Cup with 32 teams in 2023. The official announcement was made by FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino through an official livestream shared by FIFA official social media on June 25 and the final result brought a lot of joy and pride for people from Australia, New Zealand and other nations from Oceania.
It is already known that Australia is part of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) since 2006. However having New Zealand as hosts brings lots of hopes to smaller countries affiliated to Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) as these countries will have bigger chances to play a FIFA Women’s World Cup at senior level for the first time ever once New Zealand is already qualified for the tournament.
The next FIFA Women’s World Cup will face some changes as the number of teams will increase from 24 to 32. However FIFA did not release anything about the number of spots for each confederation so it is not known if there will be a second direct spot for OFC at the moment.
Despite this, history is favorable for Oceania in these situations: in 2016 Papua New Guinea hosted FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and there were two teams from OFC region in the tournament as New Zealand qualified as OFC U-20 Women’s Championship winners. The same thing happened in the previous year when Fiji qualified to play 2015 FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup in New Zealand. Since then, OFC has two spots in U-17 and U-20 Men’s World Cups and it is helping to develop football in smaller nations like Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
It is clear that women’s football in smaller nations from Oceania are many steps away from New Zealand so it would not be a surprise if FIFA does not give a direct spot to OFC. The next OFC Women’s Nations Cup is scheduled to take place in 2022 and the best team other than New Zealand must advance to an inter-confederation play-offs to fight for a spot in the next FIFA Women’s World Cup, but there is no official confirmation about it as it was mentioned above.
Many things will happen and change until 2022 but Papua New Guinea (PNG) seems to be the favourite team to win the next OFC Women’s Nations Cup as PNG Women’s National Team is the second best nation in Oceania when it comes to women’s football. Oceania Football Center will keep up with this situation in order to bring the most accurate updates regarding it.