4,000 fans united on Sydney Harbor Bridge to welcome Women’s WC

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Australia's iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge was transformed into a festival venue on Sunday, celebrating the 25-day countdown until the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. The event saw more than 4,000 people traversing the landmark, sharing their love for women's football, reported Xinhua.

As early as 6:30 a.m. local time, with the sun beginning to rise, enthusiastic football lovers had already gathered at the northern end of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. They were dressed in the jerseys, beanies, and scarves of their favorite teams.

The Unity Celebration began with a traditional smoking ceremony. Participants then started moving southward towards the stage set on the bridge.

FIFA Legend and former U.S. football player Joy Fawcett, along with Australia's inaugural captain and cap number one holder for the Matildas, Julie Dolan, were spotted among the crowd.

The event also offered a preview of the tournament's official song, "Do It Again," talks, and live cultural performances including Irish and African dances. A 17-meter-tall "Unity Jersey" was revealed on the bridge, featuring 32 colorful squares that represent the 32 participating nations.

"What a fabulous morning of football, culture, and community coming together — a fitting stage to set the scene for what is to come in 25 days," FIFA Council Member Johanna Wood said during the event.

"We are committed to delivering an exceptional tournament and experience that will not only captivate the hearts and minds of football fans but also empower women in sports across the globe. We are ready to go Beyond Greatness and football, once again, has demonstrated how it unites the world," Wood added.

Sarah Hunter, a 20-year-old player for Australia's national under-20 football team, also known as Young Matildas, attended the event with her peers. She expressed her excitement about having the Women's World Cup on her home turf.

"This is going to be one of probably the biggest female tournaments ever because of the exponential rise in female sports. It's sort of at the right timing with all these movements to do with female sports. So it's really exciting. We're gonna see so many changes after this tournament. The growth that we've seen for the last 20 years is going to, I think, peak here and it's just going to hopefully be a new beginning for female athletes," Hunter said.

When speaking about her role models in the Matildas, the 20-year-old told Xinhua that she has trained with Charlotte Grant and Kyra Cooney-Cross for a while in the Future Matildas program.

"I see how far they've come, and they are real role models for all of us young girls," Hunter said. She added that she looked up to Sam Kerr, Tameka Yallop, and Katrina Gorry as well.

In Hunter's view, the ninth edition of the Women's World Cup might see strong performances from France and the powerhouse United States, with both teams holding the potential to claim the trophy. However, she also noted that Australia promises to win with a team of competitive players.

"Especially (with) the home crowd, they can definitely go a long way," said Hunter.

  •  Women’s WC
  •  Sydney

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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