Opera House and Sky Tower light up for Australia-New Zealand World Cup bid

Reuters
The Sydney Opera House lights up in celebration of Australia and New Zealand's joint bid to host the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, in Sydney
The Sydney Opera House lights up in celebration of Australia and New Zealand's joint bid to host the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, in Sydney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Sydney Opera House and Auckland's Sky Tower were lit up in blue and green to celebrate the joint Australian-New Zealand bid to host the 2032 Women's World Cup on Thursday, just a few hours before FIFA makes its decision.

The "AsOne" bid is up against Colombia in a vote by 35 members of FIFA's ruling council with a result expected at around 1600 GMT, which will be 2 a.m. on Friday on the east coast of Australia and 4 a.m. in New Zealand.

The Australasian bid was installed as a strong favourite to bring one of FIFA's showpiece tournaments to the region for the first time after a bid evaluation report rated it 4.1 out of five to 2.8 for Colombia's proposal.

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Reports that some council members from Europe's governing body UEFA might be leaning towards Colombia have caused some late jitters Down Under, however, and triggered memories of Australia's ill-fated bid to host the 2022 men's World Cup.

"I am nervous to be honest," Australia captain Sam Kerr told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I am just nervous."

If successful, the opening ceremony of the ninth Women's World Cup would take place on July 10, 2023 at Auckland's Eden Park with the final at Sydney's Stadium Australia a month later.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison will lead the bid's final charm offensive ahead of the vote, which will take place by video conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic.




(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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