Matildas fans may not have to wait long to see them back in a major tournament with Football Australia to fight with Saudi Arabia for the rights to the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.
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Football Australia will be hoping the Matildas’ exploits at the Women’s World Cup will see the nation beat emerging superpower Saudi Arabia to host the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson has announced his intention to bid for the 2034 FIFA Men’s World Cup, but he is also aiming for greater visibility for the women’s national team.
After the Matildas were knocked out in the semi-finals of their home tournament by England on Wednesday, the FA’s attention will now turn to hosting further competition on Australian shores.
James Johnson’s organization have been ambitious in their desire to bid for the rights to host the Men’s World Cup in 2034 and the revamped Club World Cup in 2029.
The Aussies could once again have the opportunity to cheer on the Matildas at home very soon with Football Australia bidding for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup
Millions of passionate Australian fans turned out to support the Matildas at games and live venues across Australia, while viewership numbers hit record highs.
But the Women’s Asian Cup in 2026 is shaping up to be a much more feasible proposition for the FA after record crowds and viewing figures at this year’s World Cup.
“(A successful bid) would extend that window for major growth in the Australian game which is really turbocharged by the women’s game,” Johnson told AAP.
“There’s a lot of logic in this bid, it’s calculated because women’s football is growing rapidly around the world and especially in Australia.”
“We have seen the success of the Matildas in this World Cup and we know that when we hosted the Asian Cup in 2015 it was a great success.
“We take this seriously and we’re working with state and federal governments to make sure we have the right support to push this through.”
Johnson will not only have to convince politicians to make his dream a reality, he will also face fierce opposition within the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The Matildas showed that top-flight women’s football has a huge fan base in Australia as they head to their first Women’s World Cup semi-final.
James Johnson chats with Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson after their heartbreaking semi-final loss
Uzbekistan has officially expressed its interest, as have the Saudis, who are positioning themselves as a key player in world football.
The oil-rich state bought Premier League club Newcastle United in 2021 and managed to lure Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane and Neymar to their top flight.
Saudi Arabia’s women’s national team only played their first FIFA-sanctioned game in February last year.
“They’ve had tremendous growth and the administration is doing great things there,” Johnson said.
“Our competitive advantage is twofold, we can put our money in place by putting on the best Women’s World Cup ever – we are a safe pair of hands and a safe bet.”
“There is obviously a link between the success of a competition and the performance of the hosts and the Matildas are a top world team, who will do very well in the Asian Cup.”