FIFA Women’s World Cup, Asian Games to draw eyes in 2023

The FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIBA Men’s World Cup and Asian Games are among the major sports events that are set to gain attention in 2023.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played between July 20 to August 20 in Australia and New Zealand, with the United States women’s national team facing a tough challenge from some European rivals.

While the U.S. men’s team was knocked out from the round of 16 at the Qatar Men’s World Cup, their women’s counterparts will start the pursuit of a third consecutive title in the women’s elite tournament.

The four-time champion will face the Netherlands in the group phase in a repeat of the 2019 final.

“We’re excited about the match-ups. It’s a pretty tough group, but at the same time, it’s going to be good games, especially against the Netherlands,” United States coach Vlatko Andonovski said of the draw in October.

“The Dutch are very good, and they have always been one of the top teams. I expect a huge challenge for us,” he said.

China will face tough battles at the group stage after they were drawn into Group D alongside difficult opponents, including England and Denmark.

“All the teams are hard to cope with, as Denmark is rather strong and England is the reigning European champion,” China coach Shui Qingxia has earlier said.

“The first game against Denmark is very crucial. Denmark is stronger than my side, but everything is possible in football games,” she added.

Ten venues across nine host cities in Australia and New Zealand will host the first 32-team women’s World Cup.

With all competition venues completed and test events held, east China’s Hangzhou is set to host a “streamlined, safe and spectacular” Asian Games on the new dates of September 23 to October 8, 2023.

The 19th edition of the multi-sports Games, second in size only to the Summer Olympics, was originally scheduled to take place from September 10-25 in the capital of Zhejiang province this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organizers to postpone the Games in May.

China topped the last Asian Games medal table for 10 straight times as the country claimed 132 gold, 92 silver and 65 bronze medals at Jakarta in 2018.

The FIBA Men’s World Cup is another big event to watch when the showpiece tournament takes place in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines between August 25 and September 10, 2023.

Heavy favorite Spain, who won the 2019 title, moved into the top spot of the FIBA world men’s rankings in November, and for the first time in 12 years, the U.S. is not atop the rankings.

The U.S. was only seventh at the 2019 World Cup.

China has already secured a berth at the World Cup, and it will give all out to seek a breakthrough and fight for the Paris Games ticket.

Aleksandar Djordjevic of Serbia, newly appointed head coach of the Chinese team, said earlier this month that he has high expectations for his side.

“My goal for every team I coach is to win medals,” he said.

The 55-year-old Djordjevic has won Olympic, World Cup and FIBA EuroBasket medals as both a player and head coach and has coached many top club sides.

In July, the world’s student athletes will gather in southwest China’s Chengdu for the Summer Universiade, which has been delayed twice due to COVID-19.

Wang Guangliang, vice director-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Liaison from the Chengdu Universiade Organizing Committee, said the preparation is upgraded, and every session of the Games, such as workforce management, volunteers, security and media service, is underway.

More than 10,000 athletes are expected to be competing in 18 sports disciplines at the Chengdu Universiade.

Elsewhere, the Special Olympics World Summer Games will take place in Berlin, Germany, from June 17-25, while the Pan American Games will be held in Santiago, Chile, between October 20-November 5.

The European Games and the All Africa Games will also draw attention from the world next year.

World titles in swimming, athletics, table tennis, badminton and gymnastics are also up for grabs in 2023. ■

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