Crowded around a laptop in their hotel room in the wee hours of Friday morning, Football Ferns players Annalie Longo, Erin Nayler and Hannah Wilkinson watched on with nervous anticipation as Fifa President Gianni Infantino delivered the news.
Cameras captured the exact moment the trio learned that the Women’s World Cup will be played in New Zealand and Australia in 2023. It will be the first time the global tournament has ever been staged in the Southern Hemisphere, bringing the world’s best players to our backyard.
“I can announce the host country of the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023 which will be Australia and New Zealand,” Infantino said. “Congratulations and thank you very much.”
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The three players screamed with joy before toasting with a glass of champagne. Wilkinson, who has already been to three World Cup tournaments, also pumped her fists in celebration.
“It was a long wait,” Wilkinson told TVNZ’s Breakfast. “All of this anticipation was filling the room. The second he said it, I completely blacked out for a second. Honestly, it was just total joy. This is going to be absolutely amazing and I’m a bit speechless.”
The joint bid from Australia and New Zealand beat Colombia’s 22-13 in the Fifa Council vote to earn the hosting rights for 2023.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino announces New Zealand and Australia as the hosts of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.