After a long year of qualifying, the 24 qualified teams have been placed into six groups for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. The first match will take place on June 7th, 2018 with the hosts France taking on Korea Republic in their third World Cup appearance.
With many old faces and quite a few new ones, there really is no telling how this World Cup will go. Three time World Champions, United States will be on the hunt for their second consecutive title. France will be looking to continue what the men started and bring home another World Cup trophy. Teams like South Africa, coming into their first World Cup will look to make history and fight for a chance to hoist the trophy. Teams put in lots of hard work to qualify and now they know who they'll have to play on their path to the trophy.
How does the draw work?
The draw can be a pretty confusing thing so here's how it works. The qualified teams were split into four pots. The pots were arranged based on the FIFA World Rankings that were released on December 7th. Pot 1 held the highest ranked teams followed by Pot 4 with the lowest. Teams are drawn until all of the teams in the pot are placed into a group. The teams in Pot 1 occupy the number one spot in each group with the rest of the teams being randomly placed into spots.
With Europe being an exception, no two teams from the same confederation were allowed in the same group. So, the United States couldn't be placed with Canada or Jamaica. Europe having nine qualified teams, three groups have a maximum of two European teams and the rest have one.
What are the groups?
With France being the host, they were automatically placed into Pot 1 but would have still been in that pot if they weren't the hosts based on their world rankings. The rest of Pot 1 consisted of the United States, Germany, England, Canada and Australia. Pot 2 contained Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain and Norway. Pot 3 had Korea Republic, China PR, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland and Thailand. Finally, Pot 4 consisted of Argentina, Chile, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa and Jamaica.
Group A: France, Korea Republic, Norway, Nigeria
Group B: Germany, China PR, Spain, South Africa
Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
Group F: United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden
Now that the groups are set, the schedule can also be determined as well. The first group matches will take place between the first and second team in each group and then the third and fourth. Here's an example of the schedule from Group A:
France vs Korea Republic Norway vs Nigeria
France vs Norway Nigeria vs Korea Republic
France vs Nigeria Korea Republic vs Norway
Each team will prepare for the World Cup with World Cup prep matches in the early months of 2019. The games will officially begin on June 7th in Paris. Teams will play at least three matches in the group stage and then go as far as they can in the knockout round. The journey to the World Cup starts now. Who will be crowned the next World Champions?