SYDNEY: Sydney will stage 11 games, including the final, and Auckland nine at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, officials said Thursday, as the number of host cities was scaled down. Australia and New Zealand were picked as co-hosts ahead of Colombia in June last year for what will be the first 32-team women’s tournament. Back then, organisers envisaged games at 13 venues across 12 cities, but this has been slimmed down to 10 stadiums (two in Sydney) and nine cities, world governing FIFA said in announcing the match schedule. Sydney had already been earmarked as hosting the final on August 20, with Stadium Australia now confirmed as the venue. The World Cup kicks off at Auckland’s Eden Park on July 20. Australia was given 35 of the 64 fixtures with Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide also playing host. The 29 matches in New Zealand will be at Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington and Hamilton. The quarter-finals are split between the two countries and the semis at Stadium Australia and Eden Park. “It is a great privilege for Australia to host 35 matches, including the final — a sporting showcase that will reinforce our growing reputation as a major events host,” said Australian Sports Minister Richard Colbeck. His New Zealand counterpart Grant Robertson said the country was thrilled to get so many matches. “Gaining an equal share of the group-stage matches with Australia is really exciting… and will ensure more of our sports-mad nation can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event in our backyard,” he said.