Australia, New Zealand to co-host 2023 Women's World Cup
Catherine Steenkeste / Getty Images Sport / Getty

FIFA announced Thursday that Australia and New Zealand will serve as co-hosts for the 2023 Women's World Cup.

Colombia was the lone challenger to the joint bid after several nations - including Japan and Brazil - pulled out of the running. Australia and New Zealand easily won the vote by a 22-13 margin, according to Rob Harris of The Associated Press.

The 2023 tournament will be the first Women's World Cup to feature 32 teams, up from the 24 that took part in last year's competition, which was won by the four-time champion United States.

On the back of that tournament's success - over 1.1 million fans attended the matches in France - FIFA president Gianni Infantino was quickly able to garner support for plans to expand the next edition.

The FIFA Council also vowed on Thursday to invest $1 billion in women's soccer over the next four years, approving a plan that was previously outlined.

Australia and New Zealand had long been seen as the favorites to win hosting rights; the former was the first to announce its intention last July, just one day after the final of the 2019 tournament, while New Zealand teamed up in December.

FIFA gave the joint bid a score of 4.1 (out of five) in its technical report, which easily eclipsed Colombia's mark of 2.8. There were rumblings on the eve of the vote that the South American nation had pulled ahead with UEFA's backing, but that ultimately didn't come to fruition.

Australia and New Zealand's grip on the tournament tightened once Japan pulled out of the running earlier this week.

Both nations have a strong history of investing in and promoting the women's game. Australia has taken part in every World Cup since 1995, and in Sam Kerr, boasts one of the world's best players. New Zealand, meanwhile, has made four consecutive tournament appearances.

Neither country has advanced beyond the quarterfinals - Australia bowed out at that stage three straight times from 2007 to 2015 - and will be hoping home advantage can provide a push toward the latter stages.

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Australia, New Zealand to co-host 2023 Women's World Cup
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