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Everything you need to know about the Women's World Cup

Image: Qayum Ismail /

On Thursday, 20th July, football fans around the world will be tuning in to catch the kick-off of the ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup. With 32 countries competing in the quadrennial competition, it’s sure to be a summer scorcher.

Here are nine interesting facts about the Women’s World Cup to help get you ready for the competition.

1. Who is hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

This year’s competition is being dual-hosted by both Australia and New Zealand. This is the first FIFA Women’s World Cup ever to be co-hosted and will take place in 10 venues across the two countries throughout July and August.

Kicking off in the Accor Stadium in Sydney, the tournament will visit various host cities, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth in Australia, and Aukland, Dunedin, Hamilton, and Wellington in New Zealand.

2. When was the first Women’s World Cup?

The first FIFA Women’s World Cup took place in November 1991 in Guangdong, China. 12 teams battled it out across six venues, with the USA taking home the inaugural trophy after beating Norway 2-1 in the final.

3. Which countries have played in all Women’s World Cup tournaments?

Only seven teams have played in all the Women’s World Cup events so far. Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, the USA, and Sweden have all qualified to play in every Women’s World Cup since 1991.

4. Which countries have hosted the Women’s World Cup?

Including New Zealand and Australia, eight countries will have hosted the Women’s World Cup. With China and the USA both hosting the event twice, other host nations include Sweden, Germany, Canada and France.

5. Who’s won the most Women’s World Cup tournaments?

The USA has won the most tournaments with four separate victories and, if they win the next tournament, will be the first team to have won the Women’s World Cup three times in a row. Germany has won twice, and Japan and Norway have both won once.

6. What about the runner-ups?

Unlike the winners, no country has ever been the runner-up twice. All eight of the Women’s World Cups so far have had different runners-up each time, with Norway, Germany, China, Sweden, Brazil, the US, Japan, and the Netherlands each tasting defeat in the final.

7. Which county has scored the most goals in the FIFA Women’s World Cup?

Rather unsurprisingly, the USA is at the top of the leaderboard as the country with the most goals scored. With 138 goals across all eight events to date, it’s not hard to see how they’ve dominated the competition so far.

Meanwhile, the record for the player with the most goals scored goes to Brazillian attacker Marta Vieira da Silva, who scored an impressive 17 goals. The 2023 tournament will be her sixth World Cup.

The record for the most goals scored in one tournament goes to Michelle Akers, who scored 10 times during the 1991 Women’s World Cup, including five goals in a single match. Meanwhile, Swiss player Fabienne Humm broke the record for the fastest hat trick in the tournament's 30-year history when she scored 3 goals in just 5 minutes.

8. Who has conceded the most goals?

On the opposite end of the scale, Nigeria has conceded the most goals in the Women’s World Cup, with 63 goals. Nigeria has also had the most losses, with a total of 19 across the eight previous tournaments.

9. What was the biggest Women’s World Cup?

The 2023 tournament will be the biggest Women’s World Cup to date, with a total of 32 teams taking part. That’s an increase of eight teams from the 2019 competition and has allowed eight new countries to make their debut, including the Republic of Ireland, Haiti, Panama, Morocco, the Philippines, Portugal, Zambia, and Vietnam.

Some more amazing Women’s World Cup stats!

  • The youngest-ever player in the Women’s World Cup was Ifeanyi Chiejine, who was 16 years and 34 days old when she represented Nigeria against North Korea in 1999.
  • The biggest win margin in the competition's history goes to the US, who beat Thailand 13-0 in 2019.
  • The most Women’s World Cup final appearances go to Kristine Lilly, who played 30 matches for the USA from 1991 until 2007.
  • Brazilian midfielder Miraildes Maciel Mota (nicknamed Formiga, or ‘The Ant’) is the only football player (male or female) in history to have played in seven World Cups and seven Olympic games.