FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, has shifted the 2023 Women’s World Cup opening match between Australia and the Republic of Ireland to a larger venue to meet high ticket demands.

The fixture on July 20, the flagship tournament's opening game, will now take place at Sydney’s 82,500-seat Stadium Australia after originally being scheduled to take place at the coastal city's Allianz Stadium, which only holds 42,000.

Stadium Australia was initially due to host knock-out round marches and the final only, but after every ticket-sales window for Australia’s first match drained within days, FIFA announced its decision to move the match to the city’s largest stadium.

FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura said: “FIFA’s mission is to organize the biggest and best Women’s World Cup in history this year, and fans, those who bring color, passion, and atmosphere to the stadium will be such an integral part of the tournament’s success.

“With this in mind, we have taken a decision that will enable over 100,000 fans to attend the opening matchday, providing more opportunities for supporters to engage with the FIFA Women’s World Cup as a month of football we will never forget gets underway.”

All tickets that have already been purchased for Australia’s opener will remain valid and FIFA will open an additional sales window for the match, starting at 12pm AEDR on February 24 and closing on March 3.

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The switch could well see the match set a home-attendance record, which currently sits at 36,109 – a milestone reached when the US national team played a friendly series there in November 2021.

The governing body said it is now targeting at least 100,000 fans for the opening night’s games, which feature the tournament co-hosts – Australia vs. Republic of Ireland in Sydney, and New Zealand vs. Norway at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.

Over 500,000 tickets have already been sold for the co-hosted tournament, with FIFA aiming for upwards of 1.5 million fans across the event.

The tournament will be the first edition to feature 32 teams (previously 24) after FIFA’s decision to expand the competition. Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the Women's World Cup will take place across nine host cities and 10 stadiums across the two countries from July 20 to August 20 this year.

Over 500,000 tickets have already been sold for the co-hosted tournament, with FIFA aiming for upwards of 1.5 million fans across the event.

Sarai Bareman, FIFA chief women’s football officer, said: “It’s going to be an incredible start for the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year. Two absolutely massive matches and we are expecting over 100,000 fans to fill those two stadiums and take in that momentous moment.

“It’s going to be a huge day for women’s football because we will also have our fan festivals up and running, with tens of thousands of people there, as well as millions of fans watching on broadcast all over the world.

“So, we are certainly pushing this tournament beyond greatness and the opening match day will certainly show us that.”

Australia’s final preparations for the upcoming World Cup begin with the Cup of Nations friendly tournament next month, where they will host Czechia, Spain, and Jamacia. There are also two international windows available before the start of the World Cup.

During the group stages of the tournament, as well as the Republic of Ireland, Australia will face Nigeria in Brisbane on July 27, and Canada in Melbourne on July 31.

In Australia, Seven Network, the free-to-air (FTA) commercial broadcaster, recently acquired rights through an exclusive sub-licensing deal with primary rightsholder Optus, the telecoms firm.

Optus will show every match on its subscription service but will sub-license one game per day, including all of Australia's fixtures, to Seven.

Rights in New Zealand were snapped up last year by leading pay-television broadcaster Sky.