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Thousands cross Sydney Harbour Bridge ahead of Women’s World Cup

SYDNEY (CNA) – Thousands of football fans crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Sunday to mark the start of a 25-day countdown to the Women’s World Cup, which is being co-hosted by Australia.

The Antipodean nation is putting on the quadrennial tournament with New Zealand in July and August across nine cities.

More than 4,000 people crossed the bridge as part of “a festival of football” ahead of the tournament, which will see teams from 32 nations participate, FIFA said in a statement.

The event on the bridge – closed to traffic for the duration – involved the unveiling of a 17-metre-tall “Unity Jersey”, FIFA said, while public broadcaster ABC reported that participants walked, jogged and danced along the iconic structure’s roadway.

“This is an amazing opportunity to start the soccer World Cup and women, well, we deserve the world so we are here,” one attendee told Channel 7 television.

Another participant told the network: “Woman’s sport is becoming much more visible and it’s wonderful to see us finally get a chance to show what we can do on the world stage, it’s amazing.”

The first match will be between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park in New Zealand’s biggest city Auckland on July 20.

Football Australia last month said the tournament could be the launchpad for a future Australian bid to co-host the men’s event, possibly in 2034.

Soccer Football – 2023 Women’s World Cup draw – Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand – October 22, 2022 Carli Lloyd of the US ahead of the Women’s World Cup draw. PHOTO: CNA SOURCE