The success of the Women’s World Cup has silenced critics who questioned expanding the tournament to 32 nations, says Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
Concerns were raised that increasing the number of teams from 24 would lead to more one-sided games in Australia and New Zealand.
However, Nigeria, South Africa, Jamaica and Morocco – nations ranked no higher than 40th in the world – advanced past the group stage.
“Fifa was right,” said Infantino.
The month-long tournament finishes on Sunday when Spain face England in the final at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Infantino said that the actions of world football’s governing body had benefitted the women’s game around the world.
Speaking in Sydney on Friday, he added: “We invested one billion US dollars in developing the game all over the world and the women’s game was specifically targeted.
“We did that in spite of Covid which impacted us all. Women’s football remained alive even in the most difficult of times. We decided to increase the number of teams at the World Cup to 32.
“I remember when we decided to do that of course the usual critics, which are less and less, were saying it’s not going to work and the level is too different.
“There would be 15-0 scores, it will be bad for women’s football and its image.
“As it happens quite often in the last years, Fifa was right once more. We had eight debutants. We had many countries around the world who thought suddenly they had a chance to participate.”
With two matches still to play including Saturday’s third place play-off between Sweden and Australia (09:00 BST), the World Cup has been watched by a tournament record 1.85m fans inside stadiums.

“This World Cup generated over $570m (£447m) in revenues, and so we broke even,” said Infantino.

“We didn’t lose any money and we generated the second highest income of any sport, besides of course the men’s World Cup, at a global stage.”

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