Matildas fans might not have to wait long to see them again in major tournament with Football Australia to duke it out with Saudi Arabi for rights to 2026 Women’s Asian Cup

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Matildas fans might not have to wait long to see them again in major tournament with Football Australia to duke it out with Saudi Arabi for rights to 2026 Women’s Asian Cup

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Football Australia are hoping the exploits of the Matildas at the Women’s World Cup can put the nation in the box seat to beat emerging superpower Saudi Arabia for hosting rights to the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.

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Football Australia chief executive James Johnson has signaled his intent to bid for the 2034 FIFA Men’s World Cup down under, but it also targeting more exposure for the women’s national side as well.

After the Matildas were dumped out at the semi-final stage of their home tournament by England on Wednesday, FA’s attention will now turn to bringing further competitions to Australian shores.

James Johnson’s organisation have been ambitious in their desire to bid for hosting rights to the men’s World Cup in 2034 and the revamped Club World Cup in 2029.

Aussies could get a chance to cheer on the Matildas on home soil again very soon with Football Australia to bid for the 2026 Women's Asian Cup

Aussies could get a chance to cheer on the Matildas on home soil again very soon with Football Australia to bid for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup

Millions of passionate Aussie fans turned out to support the Matildas at games and live sites around Australia, while broadcast viewership hit record numbers

Millions of passionate Aussie fans turned out to support the Matildas at games and live sites around Australia, while broadcast viewership hit record numbers

But the Women’s Asian Cup in 2026 looms as a much more attainable proposition for FA following record crowds and viewing figures at this year’s World Cup.

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‘[A successful bid] would extend this window for a major growth in the Australian game which is really being turbocharged by the women’s game,’ Johnson told AAP.

‘There’s a lot of logic for that bid, it’s calculated because women’s football is growing rapidly around the world and in particular in Australia.

‘We’ve seen the success of the Matildas at this World Cup and we know when we hosted the Asian Cup in 2015 that was a big success.

‘We’re taking it seriously and we’re working with state and federal governments to make sure we have the right backing to get that over the line.’

Johnson won’t just have to convince politicians to make the dream a reality, he will also face tough opposition within the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The Matildas showed that top flight women's football had a huge fanbase in Australia as they surged to their first Women's World Cup semi-final

The Matildas showed that top flight women’s football had a huge fanbase in Australia as they surged to their first Women’s World Cup semi-final

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James Johnson speaks with Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson following their heartbreaking semi-final defeat

James Johnson speaks with Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson following their heartbreaking semi-final defeat

Uzbekistan have officially expressed an interest as have the Saudis, who are positioning themselves as a key player in world football.

The oil-rich state bought Premier League club Newcastle United in 2021 and has managed to lure the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane and Neymar to its top flight.

Saudi Arabia’s women’s national team, however, only played their first FIFA-sanctioned fixture in February last year.

‘They’ve had remarkable growth and the administration there is doing great things,’ Johnson said.

‘Our competitive advantage is twofold, we can put our money where our mouth is by hosting the best-ever Women’s World Cup – we’re a safe pair of hands and a sure bet.

‘There is obviously a link between the success of a competition and the performance of the hosts and the Matildas are a top global team, who will do very well in the Asian Cup.’

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