Football: New Zealand, Australia celebrate with just 365 days until start of historic Women's World Cup

With just one year to go until one of the biggest sporting events on the planet heads downunder, football fans in both New Zealand and Australia have enjoyed day of celebration and anticipation. 

The FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in 12 months, with games schedled both here and across the Tasman, but today's milestone has come with a warning for fans.

Parliament hosted a party celebrating the one-year countdown until the biggest women's sporting event on the planet arrives in Aotearoa.

"Seeing this here today, I think it's finally sunk in that it's happening," said Football Ferns goalkeeper Lily Alfeld.

"The scale of this tournament is huge. It will be the biggest women's sporting event New Zealand has ever seen.

"It's very exciting for the country and I hope everyone can get behind it."

A dawn ceremony at Waikato Stadium with a welcome from local iwi marked a special milestone for the 2023 edition of the Women's World Cup - the first tournament to be held across two confederations - and the turnout in Wellington suggests home support shouldn't be hard to find.

And while his football skills could use some work, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson warns those unfamiliar with the beautiful game to prepare themselves for what's coming. 

"I don't actually think New Zealanders realise just how big this tournament is going to be," he said.

Around the world, women's football is on the up. Just three months ago, 91,000-plus fans packed Camp Nou at Barcelona in a world record attendance for a women's game.

"It's growing all around the world," said Football Ferns striker Paige Satchell. "This is our chance to make our mark on the world as well."

New Zealand and Australia will co-host next year's tournament.
New Zealand and Australia will co-host next year's tournament. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

The Football Ferns are hoping to make their own history in the process.

"Come to the World Cup next year, we'll be firing on all cylinders," added Alfeld.

With just 365 days until New Zealand and Australia are thrust into the spotlight, this event could change the landscape of football downunder - forever.