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Alex Morgan says expanded 2023 Women's World Cup will be 'best one yet'

U.S. striker Alex Morgan expects the upcoming Women's World Cup to be the "best one yet", with the increase in the number of teams to 32 from 24 improving competitiveness and boosting viewing figures.

The United States kick off their campaign for a third straight title, and fifth overall, against Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22 before facing Netherlands and Portugal at the World Cup, which is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Morgan said arriving in the host country for a World Cup gives rise to a mixture of "nerves, anticipation and excitement" and that while there are a lot of similarities with the previous editions this one is "going to be the best one yet."

"We have 32 teams in the World Cup like never before, so it's just going to be very competitive; it's going to be the most watched World Cup," she added at their first training session in Auckland.

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The U.S. held a training camp in New Zealand in January, beating the co-hosts in two matches in Wellington and Auckland, and Morgan hopes home fans will adopt the Americans as their second-favorite team behind the 'Football Ferns'.

The 34-year-old, who is appearing at a fourth World Cup, hoped for "a little bit of a home crowd feeling, a lot of people cheering for us, against us".

Forward Megan Rapinoe won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards in 2019 and will also be playing at her fourth World Cup but said the tournament still gives her butterflies.

"There's nothing quite like that and only comes every four years so it's a nice little treat every time," she added.

(Reporting by Reuters TV, writing by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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