Canada women's national team to face Australia, Ireland and Nigeria at 2023 FIFA World Cup

Canada women’s national team to face Australia, Ireland and Nigeria at 2023 FIFA World Cup

Within minutes of learning her team’s path to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Canada coach Bev Priestman is looking deep into the draw.

The seventh-placed Canadians avoided some of the tournament’s heavyweights by drawing with hosts Australia, Ireland and Nigeria in Group B.

Australia, at No. 13, was the second lowest-ranked team the Olympic champion Canadians faced outside of Pot 1. Hosts and higher seeds.

And Priestman’s team is familiar with Australia and No. 45 Nigeria, having played both twice this year. Ireland, ranked 24th, will be making their World Cup debut.

“I’m delighted,” Priestman, speaking from Auckland, said of Saturday’s draw. “It could be bad, it could be good.

The top two players in each pool will play the Group B winner against the Group D winner and the Group B runner-up against the Group D winner.

That means a potential challenge date with No. 4 England, No. 15 China or No. 18 Denmark.

The expanded field of 32 countries made for a very good landing zone for the best teams. But Group D is one of the tougher neighborhoods and Olympic champion Canada will have to get through it to reach the quarterfinals.

Priestman said the aim would be to win the group, to avoid a possible meeting with England, who lost to the top-ranked Americans last month.

Canada beat Australia twice in September, 1-0 and 2-1 in Brisbane and Sydney, respectively, and is 6-2-2 against the Matildas this century. Just playing below, also knows what to expect.

The Canadians won their only game against Ireland in 2014, 2-1.

But in this match, Canada did not have any advantage over No. 45 Nigeria, which has the highest position in Pot 4. The Super Falcons have never lost a World Cup and reached the quarter-finals in 1999.

Canada is 2-1-2 all-time against Nigeria, recording a 2-0 win and 2-2 draw when they met in April in a pair of matches in BC.

“Nigeria is a very difficult team to play,” Priestman said.

Their two previous encounters came at previous World Cups. The two teams drew 3-3 in the 1995 tournament and Canada lost 1-0 to Nigeria in a disastrous showing in the 2011 tournament where it finished last.

Next year’s opener sees New Zealand take on Norway in Auckland and Australia take on Ireland in Sydney on July 20 (local time).

The Canadians will play their first games in Australia, starting on July 21 against Nigeria in Melbourne. Canada will next face Ireland in Perth on July 26 and Australia again in Melbourne on July 31.

The playoffs mean Canada will play all of its games in Australia, including the knockout stages.

No. 3 Germany or No. 5 France could await Canada in the quarterfinals

It is the first Women’s World Cup to be held in two countries, the first with an expanded field of 32 nations, up from 24, and the first in the Southern Hemisphere.

“It’s getting real!!!” Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles tweeted.

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The 64-match tournament will begin on August 20 across nine different cities across 10 different venues – five in Australia and four in New Zealand.

Priestman and Soccer Canada general secretary Earl Cochrane were in the audience for the draw, along with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australia’s federal sports minister Annika Wells. Canadian Victor Montagliani, president of CONCACAF and FIFA vice-president, was also on hand.

The trophy was also there, brought by former United States coach Jill Ellis, who won it in 2015 and 2019.

Former players Carli Lloyd, Alexi Lalas, Gilberto Silva and Ian Wright were among those who attended Saturday’s ceremony at the Auta Center in Auckland.

The 29 qualified teams with three slots yet to be filled are divided into four pots by seeding for the draw.

Canada is placed in Pot 2, which also includes 8th-ranked Netherlands, 9th-ranked Brazil, 11th-ranked Japan, 12th-ranked Norway, 14th-ranked Italy, 15th-ranked China and 17th-ranked South Korea.

In addition to the tournament co-hosts, Pot 1 includes No. 1 United States, No. 2 Sweden, No. 3 Germany, No. 4 England, No. 5 France and No. 6 Spain.

Canada was kept apart from the United States and CONCACAF partners Costa Rica and Jamaica by FIFA’s “general rule” that no group has more than one team from the same confederation.

This does not apply in Europe, as the number of possible entries – 11 or possibly 12 – depends on the playoff tournament.

The Philippines, Morocco, Vietnam and Zambia will also be making their debut in the Women’s World Cup.

Vietnam, ranked 34th, is in the deep end with an opening match against four-time champion United States.

At the 2019 World Cup in France, Canada was drawn in a pool with the Netherlands, Cameroon and New Zealand. Canada finished second to the Netherlands in the group and lost to Sweden 1-0 in the round of 16.

Canada’s women are 10-2-3 this year and have won four straight since losing 1-0 to the United States in the CONCACAF W Championship final in Mexico in July.

Canada finished fourth in the 2003 World Cup.

The remaining three teams for the 2023 tournament will come from the 10-team inter-confederation play-off tournament scheduled for February 17-23 in Auckland.

In this field, two teams from Asia (Chinese Taipei and Thailand), two from Africa (Cameroon and Senegal), two from CONCACAF (Haiti and Panama), two from South America (Chile and Paraguay), one from Oceania. Available from (Papua New Guinea). and one from Europe (Portugal).

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