New Zealand's hopes of co-hosting the 2023 women's football World Cup with Australia have received a boost with governing body FIFA rating it the best of the bids against Japan and Colombia.
The campaign scored 4.1 points from a maximum five and was deemed the "most commercially favourable" in the evaluation of plans for the 32-team tournament.
Japan scored 3.9 and Colombia 2.8.
A winner will be selected on June 25 - each of the 37-member panel's votes will be made public.
Earlier this week Brazil withdrew its bid to host because it couldn't offer FIFA the financial assurances it needs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand Football last year confirmed a joint bid with Australia to host the 2023 World Cup.
NZF CEO Andrew Pragnell said New Zealand would stage approximately 45 per cent of the matches if the event comes down under.
This means that New Zealand would host four groups (out of eight) as well as a quarter final and a semifinal.
There will be five host cities (Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) and a stand alone opening game would also take place in this country, most likely at Eden Park.
If successful, it would be the first major FIFA World Cup event hosted in New Zealand, after hosting three age group World Cups in 1999, 2008 and 2015.
However, the Anzac bid is up against two footballing powerhouses in Colombia and Japan.
The Brazilian Football Confederation said in a statement it will support Colombia's bid.
The confederation said the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro told FIFA it could not offer financial guarantees "due to the scenario of fiscal and economic austerity, caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic".
The confederation "understands the position of caution of the Brazilian government, and of other public and private partners, which stopped them from formalizing the commitments within time or in the required form", the statement added.
Brazil's economy is expected to contract this year by at least 7.4%, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts.
The country is the hardest hit by Covid-19 in Latin America, with more than 37,000 confirmed deaths.
Brazil's football body also said the high number of big sporting events in the last decade could also harm the chances of its bid to host the Women's World Cup.
- with AP