UK

The boss of Australian football has urged King Charles to come to the Women’s World Cup that his country is co-hosting with New Zealand.

The FIFA tournament opens on 20 July in Auckland and the final is in Sydney on 20 August when European champions England will be trying to win the world prize for the first time.

The late Queen handed over the trophy to England when the men’s World Cup final was at Wembley Stadium in 1966.

She was starting to wind down overseas travel by the time another country she reigned over – Canada – staged the Women’s World Cup in 2015.

This edition starts about 10 weeks after the coronation of King Charles, who spent two terms as a student in Australia in 1966.

Asked if he wants Charles at the Women’s World Cup, Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, told Sky News: “It would be fantastic. It would make a World Cup even more special.”

He added: “We’re a very inclusive nation. We want all people to come – from Kings to Queens, to the rest of the world.

“So the more people that can come to our community to watch this fantastic event will only make it more special.”

The England team, which reached the 2019 Women’s World Cup semi-finals, has royal links. Despite becoming Prince of Wales last year, William remains president of the Football Association.

This will be the biggest-ever Women’s World Cup with two countries staging matches for the first time and an enlarged 32-team format with eight countries added since the 2019 tournament.

Ireland has qualified for the first time and will play its opening game on 20 July against Australia at Stadium Australia in Sydney, which has a capacity of 82,500. The match was moved from the 42,000-capacity Allianz Stadium due to increased ticket demand.

Australia’s preparations for the tournament will include a game against England at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium on 11 April.

“They’re absolutely one of the favourites, the European champions, they’re very good,” Mr Johnson said.

“We want to, in the lead-up to the Women’s World Cup, put the Matildas up against the best in the world.

“We just put them out against Spain. And we’re very fortunate to beat Spain. England are another notch up.

“So playing England in England is something that we think is important from a high performance point of view.”

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