England’s Lionesses have been drawn against Denmark, China and an as yet undetermined Play-Off Winner for the group stages of the Women’s next summer.
Sarina Wiegman’s European champions have made the semi-finals at the last two tournaments, losing to Japan and the Unites States, but will be confident of going one step further after their Euro 2022 success.
The draw for the tournament, which is being jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia, was conducted in Auckland on Saturday morning.
England avoided a host of tricky teams in Pot 2 – including Olympic champions Canada – but, in the form of Denmark, were drawn against the highest-ranked team from Pot 3.
The Lionesses will kick off their tournament against what will be their lowest-ranked opponent, though will not know who it is until February when Chile take on either Senegal or Haiti in a play-off match.
Holders USA remain favourites for the tournament despite recent back-to-back friendly defeats to England and Spain and are going for an unprecedented third straight win after victories in 2015 and 2019.
They have been handed a tough group though, drawn against 2019 finalists Netherlands – the team they beat to defend their crown – while Group F is also eye-catching and will see France and Brazil go head-to-head.
Women's World Cup 2023 Draw In Full
Group A – New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
Group B – Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada
Group C – Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan
Group D – England, Play-Off Winner B, Denmark, China
Group E – USA, Vietnam, Netherlands, Play-Off Winner A
Group F – France, Jamaica, Brazil, Play-Off Winner C
Group G – Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina
Group H – Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea
England's Group D Fixtures
July 22: England v Senegal/Haiti/Chile in Brisbane
July 28: England v Denmark in Sydney
August 1: China v England in Adelaide
In an interesting quirk, England will play all their matches in Australia if they win Group D, while they will also avoid USA until the final if both nations top their respective groups.
The 2023 World Cup features an expanded competition, moving up to 32 teams this time – up from 24 at the last tournament in France three years ago.
Currently, 29 of the 32 World Cup teams are already known and there will be an inter-continental play-off tournament in February to determine the final three entrants – unfortunately, Scotland and Wales both failed to qualify.
The tournament will take place between 20 July and 20 August next summer and is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand – with groups split between the two counties.
As hosts, those two nations were both seeded in Pot 1 along with the highest ranked teams according to the latest FIFA Women’s World Rankings: USA, Sweden, Germany, England, France and Spain.
Next year’s tournament sees a host of nations make their debut in the Women’s World Cup, with Morocco, the Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Vietnam and Zambia all qualifying for the first time.
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