Italy’s legendary striker Carolina Morace has given Australia and New Zealand her full support to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Morace, who made her debut for Italy in 1979 at the tender age of 14, went on to play 153 times for her country netting an amazing 105 goals. She played in the inaugural 1991 Women’s World Cup, scoring four goals including the first ever World Cup hat-trick against Chinese Taipei.
“Yes, Australia and New Zealand have my vote #AsOne to host the 2023 WWC,” says Morace. “They are such beautiful countries that entice anyone to visit, and an added bonus of seeing a World Cup is crossing two things off a bucket list for sure.
“Having lived there for a few years and getting my permanent residency, Australia is certainly a beautiful country with many passionate people involved in football.
“We can see also how well they have handled COVID and it feels like a safe and organised country to host.“
Morace coached the Italian Women’s National team from 2000-2005, qualifying twice for the European Championships. She also took Canada to the 2011 World Cup before coaching Trinidad and Tobago in 2017.
She urged the 37 member FIFA Council, who vote for the 2023 hosts on Friday, to consider the positive global impact a World Cup down under would have.
“Having Australia and New Zealand hosting would continue to highlight that football is a world game, in countries where players generally have to travel so far to compete in leagues and tournaments each year.
“For these players to be able to play in front of their family and friends would really boost them and give them recognition and reward for the sacrifices they make.
“For all young girls in both countries, they will be able to see there is a pathway and a potential career in football. This will encourage players to sign up, coaches to get involved and help the growth of the sport.
“It will help push women’s football in the two countries to continue to raise awareness of the sport, to help generate income with funding, marketing, sponsorships etc.”
On the field, Morace expects the Matildas to take their game to the next level by the time 2023 comes around.
An expert TV analyst for the men’s Serie A competition in Italy, the woman who scored over 550 goals at club level, urged Australia’s top women footballers to become more tactically astute as they attempt to win their first piece of major silverware since the 2010 Asian Cup.
“Australian women’s football is continuing to grow, with a group of talented players with experience in top leagues around the world, that have been together now for a few World Cups.
“They are on the cusp of breaking into a result on the big stage, if their tactical understanding of how to strategise, to be unpredictable and expose their opponent is added to their technical ability and athletic prowess.“
Prior to this, she played club football with Matildas legend Angela Iannotta, winning an Italian Scudetto title with ACF Agliana in 1994/95.
Morace was full of praise for the Albury born striker, who scored Australia’s first ever World Cup goal in 1995.
“Angela Iannotta was a very fast player and good striker,” recalls Morace. “She was always a happy person, very passionate about football and sports in general.“
Talking about women’s football in general, Morace admits she is excited about the future of the game around the globe. Buoyed by FIFA’s promise to spend $1 billion on the women’s game in the coming years, the Italian Football Hall of Fame inductee insists women’s football will only get better.
“Women’s football is making huge steps to be professional in most countries around the world, meaning there are now full time training environments for players to be able to be paid to play as their job.
“Many top level men’s clubs are taking on a women’s team and subsequent junior development teams underneath, which is really supporting the movement and growth of women’s football.
“The more this is the case, the broader the pool of players that are emerging onto the world stage. This in turn is seeing quality football being played in some leagues.
“We now have very exciting, tactical and skilful matches around the world. If the football player is technical and talented and the matches interesting, then it makes for a great product to be able to heighten TV and social media audiences. In turn, broadcasting and sponsorship will increase and thus generate money for the women’s game.“