FT 2019 Women's World Cup Stadium Guide
As for the month of June starting from the 7th all through to the 7th of July, football is poised to be the biggest tourist attraction in the European nation of France. Not just any football but the 8th edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. A total of 24 nations from the continents of the globe will get a chance to tour and play across nine of the most scenic and historically rich venues and cities in the French nation. Those not privileged enough to take a trip to France will have all the 52 matches brought to them live, in the comfort of their homes by several service providers depending on where they are. It’s perhaps the biggest football spectacle of the year, expected to attract peoples of all colors, creeds, religions and ages, just as the men’s tournament did in June 2018 where France emerged as the overall winner.
Furthermore, women’s sports and events have been growing exponentially over the years, breaking barriers and claiming their rightful place as equally able entertainers and heroines. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will not be any different. Here is a number for you, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was watched by an estimated 764 million viewers. The final match between Japan and the US is said to have been watched by a whooping 23 million viewers in America alone, making it the most watched soccer match in the history of the United States of America.
In many nations, where the men’s football teams have consistently failed to perform at the highest level, the women are staking a serious claim at the biggest prizes and putting their countries on the map. It’s not only the USWNT but includes the likes of South Africa, Jamaica, Thailand, China PR, New Zealand and Norway, all of whom will participate in this year’s finals. In fact, the current best women’s player in the world is Ada Hegerberg from the small and less heralded Nordic nation of Norway. Even though Hegerberg will not be present in France 2019 for personal reasons, there is still so much more to look forward to.
All the finalists and tournament format
Below is the list of all the complete groups of the 24 finalists as drawn in December 2018. The group winners, their runner ups as well as four third placed teams with the most points will make it to the first knock-out stage of 16 teams.
Group A: France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
Group B: Germany, China PR, Spain, South Africa
Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
Group F: United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden
The schedule of all the matches is also detailed below:
Group Stage (matches 1-36): June 7 – 20
Round of 16 (matches 37-44): June 22-25
Quarter-Finals (matches 45-48): June 27-29
Semi-Finals (matches 49-50): July 2-3
Third Place and World Cup Final (matches 51-52): July 6-7
Stadiums and the host cities
The nine French cities hosting the tournament have a unique blend of some of the country’s newest and oldest stadiums which us here at FirstTouch have decided to group into three categories. Their unique value offerings are obviously non-exclusive but could fall into feature, scenic and historically rich stadiums. Let’s check them out.
1. Featured stadiums
Parc Olympique Lyonnais – Lyon
The main feature stadium of the 2019 tournament is Lyon’s home stadium with a capacity that is just over 59 000. It’s the biggest amongst the chosen nine, the most expensive stadium in France which costed a total of €400 million upon completion in 2016. Only the two semi-finals and the final will be hosted by the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Other than the sparkling nature of the stadium itself, Lyon as city is highly acclaimed to be the gastronomical capital of the highly gastronomic France. Foodies will be hugely satisfied in Lyon as well as by the charming neighbourhoods, historic buildings and rich culture that come along with all the gastronomy. The choice to name Parc Olympique Lyonnais as the main feature stadium of the tournament was largely in appreciation of the Lyon’s Women football team and the fans who have supported a thriving side that has dominated the whole of Europe in the last 10 years.
Parc des Princes – Paris
Many will know this as PSG’s home. The 47, 929 capacity stadium will host a total of seven world cup fixtures; five group stage matches, one round of 16 and one quarter-final. The opening match between France and South Korea will be played there and all else that is found in the French capital needs no introduction. The Eiffel Tower, the romance, history, food and culture will be available to all willing takers. It will most definitely be one of the most in-demand destinations.
2. Scenic stadiums
Stade des Alpes – Grenoble
The capital of the Alps is famously known for hosting winter sports. It nears the Italian border with one of its major offerings being the ancient Bastille Fortress. The opportunities to hike the mountainous Alps or bike through the city are certainly great breakaway opportunities from just the football. Stade des Alpes itself, which is home to FC Grenoble is a state of the art facility opened in 2008, with a capacity of 20, 068 and endowed with a unique transparent roof structure.
Stade Oceane – Le Havre
Well, this one is my favorite. Stade Oceane is widely regarded as the best eco stadium amongst the nine venues. It is a state of the art 25, 278 all-seat arena endowed with a solar panelled roof that powers the entire stadium and all the water is impressively recycled. In addition, the Stade Oceane which was opened in 2012 also offers a beautifully lit up blue exterior because of the surrounding ocean as well as green spaces during the day plus gorgeous beaches.
Stade de Nice – Nice
French Ligue 1 side, OGC Nice’s home stadium is no stranger to hosting big tournaments. It was opened back in 2013, just in time for the Men’s UEFA Euro 2016 to host four matches. The Allianz Riviera can boast of being located on the sunny Cote d’Azur, one of France’s most popular destinations. The city is known to “have something for everyone,” not least the world-class casinos, scenic views of the mountains, beaches and the sea. The stadium itself will be one of the largest at the tournament, with a total capacity of something over 35 000 and it will host six matches.
Stade de Hainaut – Valenciennes
This one nears the Belgian border and is conveniently located placed within a few hours of Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Paris and Luxembourg. Just like Lyon, it has an impeccable reputation for gastronomy and popularly known as the Athens of the North because of its artistic structures and vibe. Valenciennes FC play at the at least 25 000 capacity stadium which will host six of the 52 world cup matches.
3.Historically rich stadiums
Roazhon Park – Rennes
Voted as one of the most livable cities in the whole of France, Rennes is a lively university town with a stadium that was first constructed as early as 1912. Despite being over a 100 years old, refurbishments in 2004 and 2015 has given the close to 30, 000 capacity stadium a modern touch. Hosting a total of seven 2019 FIFA World Cup matches, fans can also expect some glorious architectures, a historic city centre as well as to relax in the city’s lovely parks, most especially the celebrated Parc du Thabor.
Stade Auguste-Delaune – Reims
This one has been around enough to host even the 1938 World Cup. Reims is a relatively small city with plenty of Cathedrals and a few more historical buildings to explore. More famously, champagne orginated nearby and the beverage is still a major cash cow to the city’s economy. A bubbly beverage atmosphere, envelopes the city which is home to the legendary Robert Pires, a member of Arsenal’s infamous invincible squad. The grass pitch will play host to a total of six world cup matches.
Stade de la Mosson - Montpellier
Montpellier HSC’s home stadium is not as old as Roazhon nor Stade Auguste-Delaune but is home to some charming people and a vibrant culture. It is located on the Mediterranean Sea and obviously offers exclusive access to some exceptional beach views coupled with its reputation of enjoying some of the sunniest weather in the country. There are also quite a number of museums, shops and cafes to explore. It was first opened back in 1972 though completely rebuilt in preparation for the 1998 World Cup which was won by the host nation, France. The southernmost stadium amongst all the tournament hosts will host a total of five matches.
After all is said and done, the choice of where to go, who to follow and what to watch falls to you. A seemingly difficult choice given the unique offerings of the various host cities and stadiums. But as for us here at FirstTouch, we have been happy to share the need-to-know pieces of information regarding the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. We don’t see anything less than fireworks as the women take on the world.