By Samindra Kunti
June 15 – The French Football Federation (FFF) has announced the nine cities that will host the matches of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup after due consultation with FIFA. Lyon will host both the opening match and the final.
Apart from Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris (Parc des Princes), Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes will also stage matches. The cities chosen favor the coastlines and the eastern border of France, though the geographic realities of France will prove to be much less challenging than the tournament’s previous incarnation in Canada.
“It wasn’t an easy choice, as all of the dossiers presented by the candidate cities were of a high quality,” said FFF president Noel Le Graet. “We are proud to be organising the eighth FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will bring together 24 countries and attract many foreign visitors. This event will mobilise our cities, our regions, amateur and professional clubs and the people of France. Women’s football is on the rise, especially in France. I am convinced that the tournament will be a huge success, both from a sporting perspective and with the public.”
France won the right to host the 24-team tournament in 2015. All the venues offer the guarantee of playing the games on grass. This was a major point of contention during the 2015 World Cup in Canada where teams were forced to play on artificial turf throughout the tournament and which sparked a player protest pre-tournament.
In the final the United States defeated Japan 5-2. France were eliminated by Germany in the quarter-finals, but they will be among the favorites on home soil in 2019. This summer the French will also be contenders at the Women’s European Championships in the Netherlands.
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