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Japan withdraws bid to host 2023 Women's World Cup

Australia and New Zealand's joint bid scored highest on official evaluation, ahead of Japan and Colombia; FIFA to vote on June 25

Saki Kumagai of Japan
Image: Japan's bid withdrawal boosts Australia and New Zealand's chances of being joint hosts in 2023

Japan is withdrawing its bid to host the 2023 Women's World Cup, leaving Australia and New Zealand as firm favourites to be selected.

The decision comes on the week football's world governing body FIFA is to hold a vote to determine the successful candidate.

The Japanese bid was one of three, along with Colombia and a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand.

Earlier this month, FIFA rated the joint Australia/New Zealand bid as the best to host the tournament, with Japan in second place.

Japan lift the 2011 Women's World Cup
Image: Japan won the 2011 Women's World Cup, shocking favourites the United States in the final

Japan has never staged the Women's World Cup but co-hosted the men's event in 2002 with neighbours South Korea.

The 2019 tournament in France, won by the US, broke records with television audiences and was seen as the most high-profile tournament so far.

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The FIFA council will make its decision on the host on June 25, in a meeting held virtually.

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