28 Oct 2008

U-17 Women's World Cup begins tonight

8:30 am on 28 October 2008

The FIFA's inaugural under-17 Women's World Cup begins at North Harbour stadium on Tuesday night when the home team, New Zealand, plays Canada.

Sixteen teams, including Brazil, England, Germany and the United States, are playing 32 matches in four pools in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

Other teams are: Ghana, Japan, North and South Korea, Denmark, France, Paraguay, Nigeria, Costa Rica and Colombia.

NZ Football chairman Frank van Hattum says a major goal of the tournament is to attract more young New Zealanders to the sport.

There are around 100,000 registered football players in New Zealand, but he believes there could be double that number involved in the sport through schools, indoor football and playing socially.

van Hattum says the event will bode well for the development of the women's game here.

It's the first time an under-17 Women's World Cup event has been held and New Zealand captain Briony Fisher is optimistic her side can reach the second round.

The final will be on 16 November.