Early Saturday morning, Canada were placed in Group B of the tournament in the official draw for the Women’s World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand.
Canada will face Nigeria, the Republic of Ireland and co-hosts Australia at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.
Early on Saturday morning, Canada was drawn into Group B of the tournament at the official draw for the Women’s World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand.
Canada will open the tournament against Nigeria on July 21 at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium. They will then travel to Perth to face the Republic of Ireland on July 26 and complete the group stage against Australia on July 31 in Melbourne.
“I’m excited to have a country at home and recent experience against both teams (Australia and Nigeria) is positive,” said Canada coach Bev Priestman. “I don’t think there are no easy games. Even from Ireland, Vera Pauw is a very experienced coach, she recently drew with Sweden and will prove in the opening game that she belongs in this World Cup.
“I’m excited more than anything, especially having a home nation, I think it will bring an amazing atmosphere.”
The top two finishers advance to the second round of the tournament, which has been expanded from 24 to 32 teams and takes place in New Zealand and Australia.
As co-hosts, New Zealand and Australia were two of eight seeded teams in the draw, along with Spain, England, the United States, France, Sweden and Germany.
Canada, the seventh team in the world according to the latest Coca-Cola FIFA rankings, placed in the next group of teams and selected second from Pot B, putting them in a group with Australia.
“I was with England in 2019 and I remember being in that semi-final against the United States was just amazing, that atmosphere, the spectators and everything around the game,” Priestman said. “If I had foreseen the growth and records that have happened since then, it seems to have taken an incredible leap forward and I think it’s exciting. “I think this World Cup will be bigger and better than ever, just based on women’s football and the teams involved. I think we can all agree, all you have to do is look at the Euro this summer, I don’t think you could predict who would lead this tournament, so that brings a level of excitement.”
Canada defeated Australia in two exhibition matches in September, winning 1-0 in Brisbane and 2-1 in Sydney. Canada also hosted Nigeria last April in British Columbia, winning 2-0 in Vancouver and drawing 2-2 in Langford.
“I think Nigeria are a very difficult team to play for,” Priestman said. “I think you saw that, particularly in the second game we played on the island, although we did some rotations (to the starting lineup). They are not an easy team to play and outside of that particular pot (selection group) they were the team you wanted.
“Let’s not underestimate them, I think they have athleticism, they seem more organized than in the past and they have a really good coach in Randy (Waldrum), so let’s not underestimate them.”
If Canada manages to advance from its group, it will face the first or second place of Group D, which has England, Denmark, China and a tie still to be determined between Senegal, Haiti or Chile.
In 2019, at the Women’s World Cup in France, Canada managed to qualify out of its group with the Netherlands, but was eliminated in the second round by Sweden.
Canada got a dose of revenge at the Tokyo Olympics, beating Sweden in the gold medal match.
Heading into the World Cup as an Olympic gold medalist, Canada will be favorites to at the very least exit the group, if not win it, likely avoiding European champions England in the second round.
“I think we have to go into this with the goal of overcoming this group,” Priestman said. “You look at crosses, and it’s not given that England win their group, but you want to avoid them in the round of 16, and any team would say that based on their recent success. “So we have to come in with the mindset that we can and will lead this group, but it’s never an easy task in a tournament, anything can happen.”
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On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest
FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
July 21, Canada v Nigeria, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, Australia
July 26, Canada vs Republic of Ireland, Perth Rectangular Stadium, Perth, Australia
July 31, Canada v Australia, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, Australia
Republic of Ireland
Playoff Group B winners
Playoff Group A winners
Group C playoff winners