Women’s World Cup: Let the games begin | July 20, 2023

Brisbane , Australia - 18 July 2023; Abbie Larkin during a Republic of Ireland training session at Meakin Park in Brisbane, Australia, ahead of the start of the FIFA Womens World Cup 2023. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The FIFA Women’s World Cup only happens once every four years, and whether you’re a soccer devotee or someone who just tunes in when the Cup comes around, you won’t want to miss the action. Never fear: We’ve got you covered.

Every day through the Final on August 20, FOX Digital will be breaking down the details on all the can’t-miss matches, players to watch and other essential details. First up: the host countries kick things off! 

Watch the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup only on FOX and FS1.

Women’s World Cup matches on July 20, 2023

Day one features two matches, one for each host country:

  • New Zealand vs. Norway, 3 a.m. EST (FOX, FOX Sports app) | watch the replay
  • Australia vs. Republic of Ireland, 6 a.m. EST (FOX, FOX Sports app) | watch the replay

For details on the results of these matches, scroll down to the ‘soccer spoilers’ section at the bottom of this story. 

In addition to those two matches, the first match of the next day will be airing while it’s still the 20th stateside:

  • Nigeria vs. Canada, 10:30 p.m. EST (FOX, FOX Sports app)

Who is playing in the first match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup? 

That would be New Zealand’s Football Ferns, who face off against Norway. That match will also include the opening ceremony of the tournament, which will feature "Do It Again," the official song of the 2023 Women's World Cup, as performed by BENEE, a New Zealand artist, alongside Australia’s Mallrat.

Match spotlight: New Zealand vs. Norway

Co-host country New Zealand’s squad, a.k.a. the Football Ferns, will square off against Norway (and legendary player-turned-coach Hege Riise) on opening day. If you’re watching live, make sure to have the coffee ready – kickoff is at 3 a.m. EST. 

Norway’s had some struggles in recent years, but Riise and her crew seem poised for a comeback. One of only four teams to win the WWC, the team will be hunting to reclaim the cup for the first time since their triumph in 1995.

New Zealand, on the other hand, are looking to make history. With five World Cup appearances under their belt, the Ferns have yet to win a match in the tournament. Per FOX Sports, it’s the longest winless streak in tournament history. They’ll want to capitalize on the home-turf advantage – and on the skills and smarts of midfielder Olivia Chance.

RELATED: 8 teams that could stop USWNT from three-peating at 2023 World Cup

Players to watch on July 20, 2023

Norway: Ada Hegerberg, striker

Hegerberg, one of soccer’s biggest stars, returns to the Norwegian side after sitting out the 2019 cup. FOX Sports calls her "a contender for the Golden Boot."

New Zealand: Olivia Chance, midfielder

This outstanding contributor, who plays for Scottish club Celtic, is deeply committed to her team: FIFA notes that Chance has traveled "further than any other player in the world to represent her national team, clocking up more than 145,000 km [rougly 90,000 miles] across 12 trips between August and March alone."

Australia: Sam Kerr, striker

The captain of Australia’s Matildas is a soccer giant: She’s a LEGO! She made the cover of the FIFA video game series! She’s made celebratory backflips iconic! And per FIFA, she’s one of only three players to have scored more than three goals in a Women's World Cup game, racking up four goals in a match against Jamaica in the 2019 cup. There are few players in the world this exciting – or this much fun to watch.

Note: after this story was filed, Australia announced that Kerr will sit out the first two matches of the Cup while she recovers from a calf strain picked up during a Thursday training session.

Republic of Ireland: Katie McCabe, midfielder/winger/wingback

This versatile player was named captain of the Irish in 2017 at the ripe old age of 21. A standout for the mighty Arsenal football club – this year she was named the Player of the Season for Arsenal, as well as delivering the score named Goal of the Season – she’s ready to lead her country’s team to what may be an impressive WWC debut.

Where is the 2023 Women’s World Cup taking place?

The eyes (and cameras) of the world will turn toward host countries Australia and New Zealand. 

Where can you stream the FIFA Women’s World Cup?

We’re living in the future, baby! All matches will be live-streamed on FOXSports.com and via the FOX Sports app, and full replays will also be available. So if you’re not into watching soccer at 3 a.m., you’re covered! 

RELATED: Who could be the breakout star for this young, talented USWNT squad?

How can I watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup on live TV?

The FIFA Women’s World Cup will air on FOX and FS1. The complete schedule awaits your perusal at FOXSports.com. In addition to all FIFA Women’s World Cup matches, head to your preferred FOX platform for game highlights, replays, stats, player stories, analysis and more. 

RELATED: 2023 Women's World Cup betting primer: How to bet on soccer

In what time zone is the Women’s World Cup taking place?

Well, there's more than one time zone involved, as the battles for the Cup will take place in 10 stadiums in two countries. But suffice it to say that you're looking at times that are anywhere from 12 hours (for matches in Perth, Australia) to 16 hours (all New Zealand-based matches) ahead of EST. 

That means some matches – like Nigeria vs. Canada, the first match of day two (July 21) – will be played early in the day locally but air on what's technically the evening before in the U.S. (in this case, July 20). Who said there's no such thing as time travel?

How does the elimination round work in the Women’s World Cup?

Good question! As with the men’s World Cup, it’s a wee bit complicated. The 32 qualifying teams have been split into eight groups, each assigned a letter (A-H). In the first round, the groups compete against each other: each "side" (team) will participate in three in-group matches. A win is worth three points, a draw worth one point and a loss is worth (you guessed it) zero points. 

At the end of the round, the top two teams (as determined by point total) in each group proceed to the knockout round. That’s 16 teams total. 

When does Team USA play its first match?

Great news for fans – this match airs in primetime! At 9 p.m. EST on Friday, July 21 Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan and company will begin the battle for a Women’s World Cup three-peat (USWNT won in 2015 and 2019, bringing the team’s grand total of WWC championships to four). They’ll face off against Vietnam and their superstar striker Huynh Nhu, as the team makes its first-ever Women’s World Cup appearance.

Soccer spoilers: day one results

Read about the results of the historic opening match between Norway and New Zealand via FOXSports.com.

Read about Australia’s match against the Republic of Ireland via FOXSports.com.

Watch the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup only on FOX and FS1.