27 July 2023

World Cup fever hits the RSL: Football Wagga Wagga invites you to Matildas watch party

| Jarryd Rowley
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Four girls supporting the Matildas and waving Team Australia football scarf

More than 150 Matildas fans turned up to the Wagga Wagga RSL Club on 20 July for their first match against Ireland. Photo: Football Wagga Wagga.

The Matildas are in action at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup tonight (27 July), causing football fans across the Riverina to wait painfully in anticipation for what promises to be a memorable campaign.

Fans of the iconic football team have been doing their best to snatch up tickets, purchase the green and gold jersey and support our girls to hopefully take home the prestigious trophy.

The famous event hit Australian shores for the first time last Thursday, but with tickets for Australia’s first three group games selling out in minutes, fans have had to find other ways to cheer on the team.

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Luckily for fans in Wagga, Football Wagga Wagga and the RSL have teamed up to showcase all of the Matildas’ remaining games of this FIFA World Cup in a friendly and fun environment where fans can barrack for the team surrounded by other passionate supporters.

Over 150 people gathered at the RSL Club to see the Matildas’ first game against a plucky Irish squad, with more than 75,000 people turning up to Stadium Australia in Sydney to watch the game live. The game ended with a 1-0 win over Ireland and left fans hungry for more action.

Football Wagga Wagga Development Officer Liam Dedini said it was fantastic to see the people of Wagga get around the vent and cheer on the girls.

“Women’s sport is on the rise not only in Wagga but across the country and the Matildas are a large reason for that,” he said.

Group of supporters at watch party

Local Matildas fans cheered when Australia went 1-0 up against Ireland in their first game last Thursday. Photo: Football Wagga Wagga.

“I know there were a few people in Wagga travelling to Brisbane for tonight’s game as well as people in town holding their events.”

Mr Dedini said improved programming for women’s sports, as well as the impressive results from the Matildas in recent years, has led to an uptick in female participation in football.

“For a long time, there were a lot of girls who wanted to play the sport but there weren’t the opportunities or enough participation for all female competitions.

“This has changed in recent years, it used to be the case that they could only play in mixed competition but now junior and senior all-female competitions are among the most popular.”

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Mr Dedini said the support for this World Cup is arguably greater than the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year.

“It was tricky to follow the Socceroos last year, the men played at really inconvenient times on the opposite side of the world,” Mr Dedini said.

“We now have a competition in our backyard at prime time, there isn’t a reason to not watch the games.”

The RSL will also be showing the Matildas’ game against Canada on Monday 31 July as well as any finals matches should they advance.

Although the event is free, the RSL club is encouraging people who are interested to book in advance. To book an expression of interest visit the Eventbrite link here.

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