Sport Football FIFA chief wants 32 teams at 2023 Women’s World Cup

FIFA chief wants 32 teams at 2023 Women’s World Cup

Fight for third: Karen Carney of England is challenged by Sweden's Sofia Jakobsson.
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FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants to expand the Women’s World Cup to 32 teams from 24 for the next edition in 2023.

Ahead of the Women’s World Cup final on Monday (AEST) between holders the United States and the Netherlands, Infantino said he would take his proposals to the FIFA council and member associations for approval.

“I want to expand the tournament to 32 teams,” the Swiss-Italian told a news conference.

“We will have to act quickly to decide if we are to increase it for 2023. If we do, we should reopen the bidding process to allow everyone to have a chance or maybe co-host. Nothing is impossible.”

Infantino hailed the tournament in France as “the best Women’s World Cup ever” and said it was an opportunity to build on the game worldwide.

“(I would like to see) a Club World Cup for women starting as soon as possible next year or the year after,” Infantino added.

“We need a Club World Cup which can be played even every year to expose clubs from all other the world to make clubs invest even more in women’s football to really shine in a world stage, which is a real and true Club World Cup.”

Infantino said FIFA will increase its investment in women’s soccer worldwide to $1 billion over the next four-year cycle.

On Sunday night (AEST) England missed out on a third-placed finish at the World Cup, losing 2-1 to Sweden in their play-off in Nice.

Sweden raced into a 2-0 lead at the Allianz Riviera, with Kosovare Asllani firing in on 11 minutes after an Alex Greenwood error and Sofia Jakobsson adding a fine strike in the 22nd.

The English Lionesses replied through Fran Kirby’s left-footed effort just after the half-hour mark and two minutes later the ball was in the Swedes’ net again courtesy of an Ellen White finish.

But, just had been the case in the 2-1 semi-final loss to the United States four days earlier, White had what she had thought was an equaliser disallowed following a VAR review.

This time the forward – the tournament’s joint top-scorer with six goals – was judged to have been guilty of a handball.

White’s frustration at the decision was clear, and it ended up a disappointing outing overall for the team after they had the better of the second half but were unable to save themselves from defeat, with Lucy Bronze seeing a late strike cleared off the line by Nilla Fischer.

Victory would have made the campaign in France England’s joint-best performance at a Women’s World Cup, four years on from them securing bronze for the first time in Canada.

Instead it must settle for fourth, while Sweden, the 2003 runners-up, take home bronze for a third time.

-with AAP