New Zealand/Australia win hosting rights for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup
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New Zealand/Australia win hosting rights for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

Australia and New Zealand were on Friday morning announced as the hosts of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

The two countries become the first nations to host the Women's World Cup in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first to feature in the Oceania Football Confederation. It will also be the first edition to feature 32 teams, up from 16 teams as recently as 2011.

Australia women national team captain Sam Kerr expressed her joy following the announcement.

“The opportunity to play in a home FIFA Women’s World Cup is something every footballer dreams of and I am looking forward to seeing those dreams come true. Playing for the Matildas in Australia will be the highlight of my career and an opportunity to inspire girls, both in Australia and New Zealand, and all over the world to play football," she said.

“I just broke down when I heard. This will be in a chance in a lifetime to connect with fans. We barely play any home games - because we are so far away from everywhere else - so this is so epic.” New Zealand captain Ali Riley.

The joint bid was favourite to win after the technical audit scores were released at the beginning of June, which indicated the capability of a country to host the large-scale event.

Colombia, which did not qualify for the 2019 Women's World Cup, received votes from most of the nine voters from European soccer body UEFA.

In hosting the event, the Matildas and the Football Ferns will not be required to win qualifying matches and are automatically through to the opening round.

It was also announced that the 2023 World Cup would be larger than previous tournaments, with the number of teams at the group stage of the final tournament expanding from 24 to 32 teams.

The announcement was marked by the sails of the Sydney Opera House, which lit up with fireworks and confetti behind the iconic image of Matildas captain Sam Kerr backflipping in celebration.

The win was sweet redemption in many ways for Australian soccer after falling short in bidding for what will become the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

In 2010, Australia vied for the hosting rights of the 2022 men's tournament, but received just one vote during a secret ballot, and was knocked out in the first round.

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