Matildas chase more Cup glory on home soil

Australian women's football team the Matildas at the 2023 World Cup. | Newsreel
The Matildas captivated the nation at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. | Photo: Supplied by Football Australia

The Matildas have the opportunity to again galvanise a nation, with Australia to host the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

Queensland will join New South Wales and Western Australia in hosting the international football tournament, following an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee announcement this week.

The Matildas, still riding a wave of popularity after finishing fourth in the FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil last year, will be joined by 11 other Asian nations at the event, which Australia previously hosted in 2006.

Football Australia Chairman Anter Isaac said securing the AFC Women’s Asian Cup was a testament to the nation’s dedication to football.

“It is not only a victory for the sport but for every Australian, offering significant economic and cultural benefits,” Mr Issac said.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson said following the success of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, they were eager to create another tournament that celebrated women’s football and inspired a new generation.

Mr Johnson said the success of Australian national teams, including the Socceroos and Matildas, had led to a nationwide increase in football participation, with an overall 12 percent increase in 2023 and a 20 percent increase already noted this year.

He said Football Australia was leveraging the Women’s Asian Cup as a platform to further boost participation and develop the sport, aligning with upcoming international events like the Brisbane 2032 Olympics & Paralympics.

Mr Johnson said the selection of New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia as host states promised extensive national engagement and support for the tournament, which was expected to generate up to $260 million in economic output and create over 1000 jobs.

“These states were chosen after discussions with state governments to ensure they are fully prepared to support the successful delivery of the tournament,” he said.

Tournament dates in 2026 are yet be confirmed with the AFC, while training and venue inspections will occur in the coming months.