Football World Cup: FIFA women's boss Sarai Bareman reveals team she wants drawn in NZ

Preparations for the Women's Football World Cup will tick up another notch with the draw for the New Zealand-Australia tournament on Saturday.

Along with 31 other international teams, the Football Ferns will find out their group opponents and where they will be based for the competition.

New Zealand will get the tournament underway at Eden Park on July 23, 2023, but who they will face remains unknown, with qualifying playoff matches still scheduled for February.

The Football Ferns will play in Group A, which will be staged in New Zealand, along with Groups C, E and G, while Australia hosts the remaining groups.

With current European champions England and powerhouses Germany in the mix, FIFA chief women's football officer Sarai Bareman makes no secret who she wants drawn in New Zealand - the United States.

"Obviously, the world champions," she told Newshub. "Those are the biggest draw cards right… but more than as a football fan, just for the young girls in this country.

"One of the big legacies that we want to leave with this tournament is that women and girls are playing football here, and there's nothing quite like having a global superstar in your local stadium to entice young girls to come and play.

"The players are accessible, they know that it's more than just them and the matches they're playing. They know they're part of a bigger movement for the women's game, and that's going to be awesome across Australia and New Zealand."

USA celebrate their 2019 World Cup victory
USA celebrate their 2019 World Cup victory. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Football World Cup will provide another opportunity for New Zealand to stage one of the biggest women's sporting events in the world, following the Cricket World Cup and the ongoing Rugby World Cup.

With affordable ticket prices, stadium packages and meet-and-greets, FIFA is pulling out all the stops to ensure the tournament will be an outright success.

"It is absolutely massive, this event, and if you're a doubter, I would say look at the numbers from four years ago in France," she told Newshub.

"We had 1.1 million fans filling up the stadiums there, we had more than 1.1 billion viewers from across more than 200 territories around the world watching it.

"It's huge, and it's going to shine a spotlight on New Zealand and Australia, and that's something we should all embrace, because what an awesome opportunity it is to showcase who we are and how fantastic we are downunder.

New Zealand's Paige Satchell and Australia's Tameka Yallop.
New Zealand's Paige Satchell and Australia's Tameka Yallop. Photo credit: Photosport

"We're expecting a big contingent of international fans - some of the teams have got some very, very passionate international fans that follow them around.

"I think that's going to be awesome for New Zealand, away from the tournament itself, but just in terms of the economy.

"It's no secret we're coming out of a pretty tough time, after COVID-19, and the boost that this tournament will bring to the economy and, in particular, the tourism sector is going to be amazing.

"New Zealand is a destination, people just want to come here. Every time I say to someone, 'I'm from New Zealand', they go off about how beautiful the country is and how they want to come.

"Now they have the perfect excuse, with the Women's World Cup next year."