This is the moment the Matildas learnt they would co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup with New Zealand.
The trans-Tasman bid received 22 of the 35 valid votes from the FIFA Council overnight to beat Colombia for the showpiece event, which will take place between July and August 2023.
The tournament will be scheduled across 12 cities in Australia and New Zealand, with the opening match to be played at Eden Park in Auckland and the final in Sydney.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) officials and three Matildas stars gathered at FFA headquarters in Sydney during the early hours of Friday morning to livestream FIFA’s announcement.
Chairman of Football Federation Australia Chris Nikou (centre) throws his arms into the air as FIFA announces Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Matildas defenders Stephanie Catley (right) and Alanna Kennedy (left) embraced goalkeeper Lydia Williams (centre) in a three-way hug when they heard the good news
Matildas defender Alanna Kennedy (right) jumps from her chair and screams as the successful bid is announced
The group, who were in socially distanced seats, jumped from their chairs and erupted in cheers when their successful bid was confirmed.
Matildas defenders Stephanie Catley and Alanna Kennedy embraced goalkeeper Lydia Williams in a three-way hug.
The trio, who were dressed in green Matildas uniforms, were joined by NZ Football Ferns defender Rebekah Stott as they celebrated.
The group all donned scarves which bear both FFA and New Zealand Football’s logos.
In Auckland, Ferns stars Erin Walker, Hannah Wilkinson and Annalie Longo came together for the historic announcement.
NZ Football Ferns Annalie Longo, Hannah Wilkinson and Erin Walker celebrate with wine in Auckland following the FIFA announcement
Chairman of Football Federation Australia Chris Nikou sighs as he waits for the announcement overnight
Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams looks serious as she waits in anticipation for the announcement in Sydney overnight
‘No words’: Matildas captain Sam Kerr posts an Instagram story following the announcement
Matildas striker and captain Sam Kerr shared her excitement on Twitter, writing: ‘WE DID IT. WE FREAKING DID IT.’
FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes Australia and New Zealand are the perfect hosts to deliver the greatest ever Women’s World Cup.
‘There will be 32 countries unlike in France where we had 24 which means when you qualify for this event it is the biggest boost ever for women’s football,’ said Infantino.
‘We welcome that and I am sure we will have the best World Cup ever, in Australia and New Zealand.’
The joint bid outscored Colombia emphatically in the evaluation report which was submitted to the council members.
It scored 4.1 out of five and bettered the South Americans, who scored 2.9, in every criteria – stadiums, team and referee facilities, accommodation, International Broadcast Centre (IBC), competition-related event sites and commercial.
Infantino said the report, which in the past has been no guarantee of a successful bid, was too good for him to ignore with his vote – despite the nine-strong Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) contingent voting in favour of Colombia.
UEFA said in a statement their vote for Colombia was an attempt to try to increase the growth of the women’s game in South America.
‘Even though the Colombian bid was not the one rated highest technically by FIFA, European members of the FIFA Council felt that it represented a strategic opportunity for the development of women’s football in South America thanks to the legacy and increase of attention for the women’s game that the tournament would bring to the continent.
‘It was a choice between two countries – Australia and New Zealand – where women’s football is already strongly established, and a continent where it still has to be firmly implanted and has a huge development potential.
‘It’s important to add that European members of the FIFA Council agreed to vote together on major issues as a matter of solidarity.’
England voted against the Australia-New Zealand bid, with the Guardian reporting that English Football Association chairman Greg Clarke had refused to take a phone call from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Football Federation Australia officials and three Matildas stars gathered in Sydney during the early hours of Friday morning to livestream FIFA’s announcement
Steph Catley of the Matildas looks on as FIFA announce the hosts to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Arms are thrown in the air as Australia and New Zealand are announced as the hosts of the FIFA Women’s World Cup
Pictured: The FIFA Council Meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday. The virtual meeting, held behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, included the bidding process and vote for the host of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Australia joined forces with New Zealand to submit a joint bid in December 2019.
Matches will be held in 12 cities with Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle and Launceston to be the Australian hosts.
Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin will host the New Zealand fixtures alongside Auckland.
FFA chairman Chris Nikou described the successful bid as a pioneering effort.
‘The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand will be ground-breaking in many ways,’ he said.
NZ Football Fern Rebekah Stott attended the gathering at FFA headquarters in Sydney overnight
FIFA president Gianni Infantino (pictured) believes Australia and New Zealand are the perfect hosts to deliver the greatest ever Women’s World Cup
CEO of FFA James Johnson (left) passes his phone to the Chairman of Football Federation Australia Chris Nikou (right)
‘Not only will it be the first ever co-confederation hosted FIFA World Cup and the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in the Asia-Pacific region, but we will unlock the huge potential for growth in women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region.
‘We would like to thank FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), the Australian and New Zealand governments and all those who have supported the bid.’
NZF President and FIFA Council Member Johanna Wood believes the two nations will host a great tournament.
‘Australia and New Zealand will not only host a FIFA Women’s World Cup that is the largest tournament ever run, but it will also be a catalyst for ensuring the development of women’s football continues in the Asia-Pacific region and globally,’ she said.
‘Our two nations have worked together to deliver an exceptional, historic bid and I would like to thank FIFA and the whole football family for giving us this opportunity.’
The Sydney Opera House and Auckland’s Sky Tower were lit up on Thursday to celebrate the joint bid
Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck looks on as FIFA announce the hosts to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Ellie Carpenter, Kyah Simon, Steph Catley, Rebekah Stott, Lydia Williams and Alanna Kennedy pose ahead of the announcement in front of the Sydney Opera House on Thursday
The Sydney Opera House and Auckland’s Sky Tower were lit up on Thursday to celebrate the joint bid.
Kerr’s famous backflip goal scoring celebration was illuminated across Sydney’s iconic sails and the Matildas captain was also pictured on the monument with Ferns captain Ali Riley.
The tournament is due to be played in July and August 2023, and will complete a busy 12 months for the women’s game, with the Euros taking place in England the summer before.
That tournament was originally scheduled for 2021, but was put back after the men’s Euro 2020 was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sydney Opera House was lit up in green and gold on Thursday to celebrate Australia’s joint bid with New Zealand
Kerr’s famous backflip goal scoring celebration was illuminated across Sydney’s iconic sails and the Matildas captain was also pictured on the monument with Ferns captain Ali Riley (pictured)