WORLD CUP SONG RELEASED
A time-honoured tradition at every FIFA World Cup, men's or women's, that this writer can remember, is the official World Cup song. The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup continues to embrace this custom, featuring a collaboration between BENEE and Mallrat for the creation of the tournament's official anthem.
"Sport and music are so similar because it's a team", BENEE told ABC when the song was released.
Called DO IT AGAIN, the boppy earworm is an anthem that everybody will be singing along to throughout a tournament that is shaping up to be the highest-attended stand-alone women’s sporting event in record history. Which leads us to our next item…
MATILDAS OPENER SOLD OUT
The curtain-raiser featuring Australia against The Republic of Ireland has officially sold out all seats, setting the stage for Sam Kerr and her teammates to initiate their tournament journey amidst approximately 80,000 spectators at Stadium Australia.
Additionally, the Women's World Cup Chief Executive, David Beeche, anticipates a comparable scenario in New Zealand. The co-host nation is set to commence its Women's World Cup campaign against Norway on the same day.
“There is currently nothing available,” Mr Beeche said of the Matildas opener, before adding “It is going to be a massive day for women’s football".
Such is the fervour for tickets to the tournament that FIFA recently declared an additional allocation of 250,000 tickets, made accessible for various matches throughout the championship tournament.
BRAZIL SQUAD MAKE HUMAN RIGHTS STAND UPON ARRIVAL
Making a powerful statement, the Brazilian national team touched down in Australia on Wednesday morning in an aircraft emblazoned with the images of Amir Nasr-Azadani and Mahsa Amini on the tail. The plane's body was adorned with potent phrases: "No woman should be forced to cover her head" and "No man should be hanged for saying this".
The image of Amini, who tragically lost her life while under the supervision of Iran's "morality police" last September, serves as a grim reminder of the escalating tensions throughout the nation. Her death sparked mass protests and kindled an intensified backlash against the government's stance towards women.
Azadani, once a celebrated footballer, found himself ensnared in these demonstrations and consequently received a harsh sentence of 26 years imprisonment. This poignant gesture by the Brazilian team is a stern rebuke of these oppressive measures.
The Brazilian stance follows FIFA's announcement that players will not be permitted to don rainbow or OneLove armbands in a show of solidarity for LGBTQIA+ rights. Instead, the global football governing body has presented eight approved alternatives from which the teams can select.
Edge of the Crowd partners with Her Game Too for the Women's World Cup, uniting our passion for diversity and inclusivity in sports. Together, we aim to dismantle barriers, tackle sexism, and amplify women's voices in the sporting realm. Join us in celebrating the spirit of the beautiful game, free of gender constraints. The love for the game knows no gender; let's make every game, Her Game Too. Head to @HerGameToo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn more.
ENGLAND FAIL TO SCORE IN WORLD CUP SEND-OFF MATCH
England’s Lionesses were held scoreless for the second straight match after they played out a dour 0-0 friendly at Stadium MK. It wasn’t for a lack of trying by England, as they had 23 chances on goal.
It was a similar story for Sarina Wiegman’s charges, as they just couldn’t get the formula right to hit the back of the net.
Aston Villa's Rachel Daly had the only real chance of the first half with a tame header that couldn't beat Ines Pereira in the Portugal goal. Wiegman rang the changes at half time, to no avail. Plenty of chances were created, but none were taken advantage of.
Alessio Russo went closest for England in the second half but was denied by a tremendous goal-line clearance by Sporting Lisbon attacker Ana Borges. Lucy Bronze also had a chance in the second stanza, but hit the crossbar with a header.
The Lionesses gaffer told the press following the match, "I am convinced that we can do better. If we score a few goals nobody says anything. We could have been up 3-0. They didn’t have any chances and that’s what’s hopeful”.
England head into the biggest tournament of the year on the back of a loss without a goal to the team's name since the Finalissima victory over Brazil in April.
England kick off its World Cup campaign in Brisbane against Haiti in the opening Group D clash on July 22.
Finally, several squads have been announced ahead of the July 9 FIFA deadline for team's final 23-strong squads. Check out our comprehensive analysis of the Matildas final squad here and be sure to come back to Edge of the Crowd on July 9, when we will have every 23-player squad for you.