The United States will face Vietnam and the Netherlands at the FIFA Women’s World Cup

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — The defending champions United States will face the Netherlands in the group stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup next summer, setting up an early repeat of the final of the 2019 World Cup.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — The defending champions United States will face the Netherlands in the group stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup next summer, setting up an early repeat of the final of the 2019 World Cup.

The draw was made at a ceremony in Auckland on Saturday.

The United States, four-time champions, were drawn in Group E with Vietnam, the Netherlands and a winner of the playoffs yet to be determined in a tournament expanded for the first time to 32 teams divided into eight groups of four.

The United States will play all of their group matches in New Zealand as part of the tournament which will take place at 10 stadiums in Australia and New Zealand in July and August 2023. The match against the Netherlands will take place in Wellington on July 27. The United States beat the Dutch. 2-0 in the 2019 final in France.

« The Netherlands are a very good team that are developing a lot, and they have changed a lot in the last two years or so. And then the opening game against Vietnam, I think it’s great for us to throwing in the tournament and overall I’m very excited,” said USA midfielder Lindsey Horan.

Sweden, second in the standings, are drawn in Group G with South Africa, Italy and Argentina. Third-placed Germany are in Group H with Morocco, Colombia and South Korea and European champions England are in Group D with Denmark, China and a playoff winner .

The three playoff winners will be determined by intercontinental qualifiers in Auckland in February.

According to the formula of the draw, the six best-placed teams could not play each other in the group stage. This ensured that the United States will not face Sweden in the group stage of a major tournament for the first time in 10 years.

The draw was conducted in the same way as the Men’s World Cup: the teams were divided into four « pots » of eight teams according to the FIFA World Ranking.

The United States were placed in Pot 1 among the six highest-seeded teams – Sweden, Germany, England, France and Spain – with hosts Australia and New Zealand qualifying automatically and had already been placed in groups . New Zealand took first place in Group A and Australia first in Group B.

Canada, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, was also in Group B with Ireland and Nigeria.

« Go ahead, » Australian coach Tony Gustavsson told reporters after the draw. “In terms of standings, it’s a very, very tough draw. And then if you also look at the group and who we’re up against, just based on the standings, obviously Canada are the favorites in our group and we should finish second. »

New Zealand will face 1995 champions Norway in the tournament opener in Auckland on July 20 and Australia will open later in the day against first-time qualifier Ireland.

The United States will face Vietnam in Auckland on July 22, then the Netherlands on July 27 and finally the winner of the playoffs also in Auckland on August 1.

Pot 2 featured Canada, Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Italy, China and South Korea. Pot 3 included Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Colombia, Argentina, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

Pot 4 consisted of Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Morocco, Zambia and the three qualifiers yet to be determined.

Qualifier A will feature Cameroon, Thailand and Portugal, Qualifier B will feature Senegal, Haiti and Chile and Qualifier C will feature Chinese Taipei, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea and Panama. The winners of these playoffs will be placed in the group slots drawn on Saturday.

The draw rules allowed two teams from UEFA, the European confederation, to be drawn in the same group, but teams from other confederations could not be drawn together.

The draw was conducted in front of an audience of over 800 people, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Sports Minister Anika Wells. Two-time World Cup winner Carli Lloyd of the United States, former England striker Ian Wright and Brazil World Cup winner Gilberto Silva were among the stars to take part in the draw.

The ceremony was rich in indigenous Maori culture from New Zealand and First Nations culture from Australia. The tournament is held for the ninth time but for the first time in the southern hemisphere.

Former USA defender Alexi Lalas said he « felt a hat-trick » for the Americans, who have won the last two World Cups and will make history if they can win three in a row.

“This World Cup will not only be the best, it will also be the most competitive in our history,” said two-time World Cup-winning United States coach Jill Ellis.

Lloyd added: « It’s going to be the biggest and the best. »


Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland.

Group B: Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada.

Group C: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan.

Group D: England, Group B playoff winners, Denmark, China.

Group E: USA, Vietnam, Netherlands, Group A playoff winner.

Group F: France, Jamaica, Brazil, Group C playoff winners.

Group G: Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina.

Group H: Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea.


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