FIFA Women's World Cup city profile: Montpellier

The Westfield Matildas will cross from north to south in France for their second and arguably most important Group C match at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Montpellier is set to provide the picturesque backdrop to Australia's crunch date with Brazil in the early hours of June 14 (AEDT).

The clash could have a big say on how the tournament unfolds for two nations both keen on securing top spot.

Discover more about the setting of the Westfield Matildas' second group match at France 2019 with our guide to one of nine host cities.

HOST CITY PROFILE: Valenciennes
TICKETS: How to apply for specific FIFA Women's World Cup packages
ANALYSIS: An in-depth look at Group C opponents Brazil

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About the city

Situated close to the Mediterranean Sea on France's south coast, Montpellier is the country's seventh-largest city with a population of approximately 275,000 people.

It serves as the capital of the Herault department and is home to a large contingent of students stemming from the establishment of the renowned University of Montpellier in 1289.

Cultural sites include the iconic Place de la Comedie precinct and the Musee Fabre, where several prominent paintings and sculptures reside.

Montpellier, birthplace of the former Belgium prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, is known to have around 300 days of sunshine per year and low rainfall rates, making it a popular tourist destination.

The Stade de la Mosson

Next year's event will not be the first time Montpellier has held the global football public's attention.

The 32,900-capacity Stade de la Mosson hosted six matches at the 1998 FIFA World Cup including Germany's win over Mexico in the Round of 16.

A three-tier stand constructed to increase the capacity for that tournament is part of the venue's charm.

Opened in 1972, it was also used during the 2007 Rugby World Cup and is home to Ligue 1 side Montpellier.

Football background

Local club Montpellier, crowned Ligue 1 champions in 2011/12, has cultivated a strong female football program since formally introducing a women's side in 2001.

The team competes in the Division 1 Feminine, winning titles in 2004 and 2005, and reached the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals last season.

Long-serving former France internationals Sonia Bompastor, Hoda Lattaf and Camille Abily, along with Japan's Rumi Utsugi, are among the players to have spent significant periods of time with La Paillade.

Current internationals at Montpellier include Sweden mainstay Linda Sembrant, exciting France forward Valerie Gauvin and Anouk Dekker of Netherlands.

Ex-Liverpool and Rangers left-back Gregory Vignal is one of the more famous footballers born and bred in the city.

Rumi Utsugi
Japan star Rumi Utsugi spent six years at Montpellier
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This article was originally published on the Westfield Matildas website.
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