Soccer officials across the Tasman sit on the cusp of securing one of the game's showpiece events yet those in Canberra can do little but watch with a tinge of frustration.
Australia and New Zealand supremos are anxiously awaiting the FIFA Council's decision on the 2023 Women's World Cup host with the trans-Tasman bid tipped to succeed when a decision is made on Friday morning [AEST].
The Australia-New Zealand bid has emerged as the strong favourite in what has been whittled down to a two-horse race against Colombia.
But Canberra will not play a part in hosting the tournament after the ACT government withdrew from the FFA's plans to bring the best female players in the world to Australia.
It is understood there is a late push behind the scenes for the territory government to reconsider it's position.
But The Canberra Times has been told the only option available for late inclusion would likely be as a training base for one or two of the teams in the tournament.
A hefty asking price was one of the major reasons behind the ACT government's decision to pull out, with officials opting against splashing cash for the chance to host six games with no guarantee of a Matildas match among them. A soccer exclusion zone and only one rectangular venue in the capital also played a part.
Optimism is tempered with a level of caution among FFA officials but chief executive James Johnson is "confident" of securing hosting rights.
The 37-member FIFA Council - 35 of whom can vote - will meet via video conference from 11pm Thursday AEST, with the Cup host vote the final agenda item after both bidders deliver final presentations.
Chances were boosted when Japan withdrew from the running on Monday and threw support behind the Australia-New Zealand bid. Brazil pulled out of contention earlier this month.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Oceania Football Confederation, of which New Zealand is a member, and the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) have now all endorsed the bid.
The joint bid plans to host the first 32-team Women's World Cup across seven cities in Australia and five in New Zealand, with the opening match in Auckland and the final in Sydney.
Australia and New Zealand received the highest score in FIFA's technical evaluation of the three bids - earning 4.1 out of five in the report, Japan (3.9) and Colombia (2.8).
FIFA's commitment to an open voting process also holds the joint bid in good stead - compared to Australia's ill-fated bid to hold the 2022 World Cup - given its strong technical evaluation.
"It's a far more transparent process than what the processes were last time we were in this situation in 2010," Johnson said.
"Our focus has been on the merits and not the politics, that's the way we have been from day one."
If Australia and New Zealand are successful, Johnson is confident the Women's World Cup can deliver for both countries, as well as world football.
The cross-confederation bid already has $A109 million of committed government investment and has forecast a $460 million social and economic benefit for the two countries.
"You just have to look at some of the metrics, and just having over a billion eyeballs watching a tournament on our shores is going to bring serious attention - both domestic and also international attention - to our game," Johnson said.
"The actual report describes our bid as the most commercially-favourable proposition - and that is commercially favourable for FIFA but also for Australia and New Zealand."
- With AAP