Matildas star Steph Catley says the news that Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 Women’s World Cup is “amazing” and a huge boost for the game in this country.
Australia and New Zealand received 22 of the 35 votes, to defeat Colombia in the race to host the tournament.
Players have reacted with delight, with superstar Sam Kerr tweeting “WE DID IT!”
Catley, the Australian vice-captain, says the wait to find out if the bid had been successful was excruciating.
“It was a long build-up, I’ve never been through anything like that in my life,” she told TODAY.
“Point after point of people explaining things, and every time you thought they were going to announce it they didn’t announce it!
“It was just a crazy build up and then finally when they did announce it, it was just the best feeling in the world.
“So much relief and so much excitement.
“It was amazing to be a part of.”
According to Catley, the news that Australia will host the tournament is a sign of the huge growth of women’s football in this country.
“Personally when I grew up playing I had no females to watch on TV,” she said.
“It just wasn’t happening.
“But now we’re going to be playing a World Cup on home soil, that just proves how far football has come in Australia.”
FFA boss Chris Nikou couldn’t hide his delight at the news.
“Ecstatic, relieved, proud, all of those emotions,” he told TODAY.
“Proud for Australia as a nation because we put up a really compelling bid and we got rewarded for some really hard word.”
FFA boss ‘proud’ of Aussie World Cup success
Despite suggestions that the UEFA votes would swing behind Colombia and deliver the World Cup to the South American nation, ultimately the Australian bid didn’t need the Europoean votes.
“That was disappointing that we didn’t get anything out of Europe, but ultimately it didn’t surprise us,” Nikou said.
“In a COVID-19 world we couldn’t get out and about and go and see people.
“We thought we did the groundwork and had told the FIFA council members that this is the right choice, and I’m just glad we got over the line.”
New Zealand star Rebekah Stott was also on hand for the announcement, and says the reaction across the Tasman has been just as big.
“It’s been unreal, the girls are so excited, I’ve been getting heaps of messages from them all, we just can’t wait until the event,” she told TODAY.