Sam’s joy as Australia named World Cup host
The World Cup is coming to Australia.
After three years of lobbying across the globe, Australia and New Zealand have been chosen as joint hosts of the Women's World Cup in 2023.
"We did it! We are hosting the 2023 FIFAWWC!" Australia's Matildas wrote via Twitter.
And Matildas captain Sam Kerr couldn't contain her glee.
"We did it. We freaking did it," Kerr posted to Twitter.
The outcome was announced in the early hours of Friday morning by FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, after FIFA's ruling council voted to choose the Australasian bid over Colombia, its only rival.
In the end the joint bid triumphed by 22 votes to 13, with only the European and South American nations backing Australia's rival after council members watched video pitches from the two bidders.
It means the countdown can begin immediately to the hosting of a sporting event watched by more than a billion people, and which promises to turbocharge interest in women's football across the two countries.
"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," Australian superstar Kerr said.
"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.
"We have seen great progress in the women's game and Australia-New Zealand will take the game to a whole new level."
Late fears that FIFA would opt for Colombia - after reports on Thursday that European delegates on FIFA's Council had decided to back the South American nation - failed to materialise, prompting the pouring of champagne at the headquarters of Football Federation Australia.
The good news comes nearly a decade after Australia was humiliated in its pursuit of hosting the 2022 Men's World Cup, garnering then just a solitary vote.
Just hours before, the Sydney Opera House had been lit up with footage of the Matildas in a late affirmation of the government support in both Australia and New Zealand for the bid.
The joint Auz/NZ bid had been rated as clearly superior by FIFA's own technical experts in their evaluations of the rivals, scoring 4.5/5 compared with 2.8/5 for Colombia.
The World Cup will feature 32 teams for the first time, playing in three "hubs" in Australia and New Zealand, and ticket sales of 1.5m have been predicted.
Originally published as Sam's joy as Australia named World Cup host
As the breakdown reveals, Australia’s ability to win the trust of Africa & North America was absolutely decisive.— Sebastian Hassett (@sebth) June 25, 2020
Nailing all 5 votes of CONCACAF - which borders Colombia - was a stunning home run.
That’s all the work of James Johnson; the architect of a sensational victory. pic.twitter.com/KY8jPlRXqk