Australia wins right to host 2026 Women’s Asian Cup

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The Matildas will get another chance to delight home fans as hosts of the 2026 Asian Cup.
The Matildas will get another chance to delight home fans as hosts of the 2026 Asian Cup.

The Matildas will get another chance to thrill local football fans on home soil with Australia named as the host nation for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.

The decision was confirmed at a meeting of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee in Bangkok on Wednesday, after Australia was the only member nation to submit a bid to host the tournament.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, was a huge success with the Matildas making it all the way to the semi-finals before losing the third-place playoff to Sweden.

The AFC’s women’s football committee made a strong recommendation for the 12-nation Asian Cup to also be held down under for the second time, and the executive committee agreed.

Matches will take place in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

“We are profoundly honoured to host the 2026 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson said in a statement.

“This decision reflects the global football community’s confidence in our capability to deliver outstanding events.

“Following the resounding success of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, we are eager to create another tournament that celebrates women’s football and inspires a new generation.”

The Women’s Asian Cup was last held in Australia in 2006, with the Matildas going on to win the next edition in China in 2010.  They also reached the final in 2014 and 2018, but got knocked out of the last edition in India in 2022 in the quarter-finals.

“I am confident we will see a more vibrant and competitive edition in 2026 in Australia, where the unrivalled passion for the women’s game is so palpable,” AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said.

The AFC also announced that Uzbekistan will host the event in 2029, the first time the country has organised a senior continental tournament after hosting numerous Asian events at youth level.

AAP