Women's Football: Costa Rica and Panama announced as hosts of next year's FIFA U20 Women's World Cup

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FIFA have announced Costa Rica and Panama will co-host the Under-20 Women’s World Cup, set to go ahead next year.

"We would like to thank the Costa Rican and Panamanian football associations for their commitment towards women’s football and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in particular," said Colin Smith, FIFA’s chief tournaments and events officer.

"We are looking forward to a fantastic competition in August."

The decision means Nigeria have lost out in their bid to become the first African nation to hold the event.

The West African country's bid faced strong criticism from sections of the country's socio-political commentators, but the Nigerian government pledged their support for the bid.

The decision is a blow to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick. Pinnick saw the country's bid to hold the event a great opportunity to 'impact on humanity and win it on home ground'.

16 teams are expected to compete in the competition taking place next year, separated into four groups of four.

It will be the 10th time the competition has been held with the United States and Germany both winning the competition three times, North Korea winning it twice and Japan the current holders of the title.

Sarai Bareman, FIFA's chief women’s football officer, said: "After the highly successful FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this year, it is important that we build on the momentum at all levels of the game," 

"The Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama next year is a perfect opportunity for us to continue driving the popularity of the game and with it being the first jointly hosted tournament - we can make the impact even greater."

The sport's governing body is yet to announce which stadiums will be used during the competition and release the match schedule.

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