Wellington (AFP) – Auckland’s Eden Park — the spiritual home of New Zealand rugby — will welcome the round-ball game when it stages the opening match of football’s 2023 Women’s World Cup, FIFA said Thursday.

The showcase tournament, which is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will conclude with a final in Sydney, football’s governing body said.

FIFA said nine cities had been selected as match venues, five in Australia and four in New Zealand.

“The appointment of the nine host cities represents a major milestone for the next FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, as well as for players and football fans across Australia, New Zealand and around the world,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

The New Zealand cites are Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Hamilton.

In Australia, matches will be staged in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

Australia and New Zealand will each host a semi-final, with a full match schedule for the July-August 2023 event to be released later this year.

The 2023 tournament will be the first 32-nation Women’s World Cup, an increase from the 24 teams who competed at the 2019 edition in France, which was won by the United States.

Australia and New Zealand won co-hosting rights last year, making the 2023 tournament the first Women’s World Cup to be staged in the southern hemisphere.