ZURICH, Switzerland — In a first for women’s soccer, Australia and New Zealand will co-host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The competition will be the first World Cup – men or women – that will be shared by two continental bodies. Australia is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, New Zealand with Oceania.

Their combined bid defeated Colombia, 22-13, in a vote by the FIFA Council on Thursday.  The decision was made on the first ballot.

Japan, a third candidate, withdrew Monday, which gave the Australia/New Zealand bid a better path to victory.

The expanded 32-team tournament – eight more than the 2019 edition in France – is expected to kick off in July 2023.

HOW THEY VOTED: For the 2023 hosts of Women’s World Cup

The Australia/New Zealand bid proposed 12 cities. Seven will be Australia and five in New Zealand. The main stadium used for the 2000 Sydney Olympics also was included in the bid.

Former U.S. Soccer president and current FIFA Council member Sunil Gulati voted for the Australia/New Zealand bid.

Australia is seventh in the latest FIFA rankings, while New Zealand is 23rd.

The four-time world champion United States has captured the last two Women’s World Cups, in 2015 and 2019.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.