Soccer Down Under

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    • FIFA will vote between Colombia and New Zealand and Australia this week.

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Australia and New Zealand are now the favorites to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup following Japan withdrawing its bid yesterday. The vote, to be held Thursday, will see that combined bid face off against Colombia’s bid.

Australia and New Zealand scored a 4.1 out of 5 on FIFA’s inspection report released earlier this month, while Colombia notched a 2.8. FIFA had noted Colombia would require a “significant amount of investment and support,” scoring low in stadiums, national security, and hotels. Australia and New Zealand were the “most commercially favorable.” Brazil pulled out its bid for the tournament two weeks ago citing financial reasons from the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan was expected to split the Asian federation vote – of which Australia is a member – clearing the way for the first cross-federation World Cup host; New Zealand is part of the Oceania soccer body. While Australia and New Zealand have never hosted a soccer World Cup, they do have experience hosting the rugby and cricket World Cups.