The Canadian women’s soccer team conquered the Olympics final summer season in Tokyo, reaching the medal podium for a 3rd consecutive time. Now it has its sights set on profitable on the game’s largest stage for the primary time in its historical past.
Saturday’s draw in Auckland will decide Canada’s opening-round opponents for the 2023 FIFA World Cup, which runs from July 20 to Aug. 20 in Australia and New Zealand. Canada certified for the World Cup by reaching the ultimate of the CONCACAF W Championship staged in Mexico in July, dropping 1-0 to the United States after posting shutout wins in its earlier 4 matches in the competitors.
Since then, the Olympic champions have gained 4 friendlies towards lower-ranked nations that will be competing at subsequent 12 months’s World Cup, together with a pair of victories towards co-hosts Australia in September.
A rash of accidents left Canada undermanned and coach Bev Priestman scrambling her lineup for 2 video games earlier this month. Among these lacking from October’s coaching camp have been iconic captain Christine Sinclair and fullback Ashley Lawrence. But the plethora of absentees barely slowed down the Canadians, who mowed down Argentina 2-0 and adopted that up with a 4-0 defeat of Morocco in southern Spain.
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These complete performances confirmed that the team’s depth is one in every of its biggest strengths. Still, the Reds can be effectively suggested to rearrange friendlies towards stronger opponents going ahead in the buildup to the World Cup, in response to Canada Soccer Hall of Famer Amy Walsh, who earned 102 caps for the Canadian women’s team from 1997 to 2009
“Canada, whereas hampered by accidents to team mainstays, is utilizing each alternative to evolve and develop,” Walsh stated. “Two key victories and complete performances down below towards World Cup hosts Australia have been an essential step on the journey to subsequent summer season’s World Cup, and up to date victories over Argentina and Morocco offered fringe gamers the chance to contribute and get significant minutes.
“However, regardless of gamers corresponding to Évelyne Viens, Cloé Lacasse and Jade Rose staking their declare to be part of Priestman’s World Cup roster, Canada must be examined towards [higher-ranked] opponents corresponding to Sweden and France in order to actually gauge their progress.”
The 32 World Cup groups have been break up up into 4 pots primarily based on the newest FIFA world rankings launched on Oct. 13. Saturday’s draw will divide the 32 nations into eight first-round teams on the World Cup.
Canada in Pot 2
Pot 1 consists of co-hosts New Zealand and Australia, and the highest six ranked groups. Pot 2 accommodates the following greatest eight groups (which incorporates Canada) and the following greatest eight nations are in Pot 3. Pot 4 has the 5 lowest-ranked groups, together with placeholders for the winners for the three intercontinental playoffs to be held in February.
Cameroon performs Thailand in the primary sport of the Group A playoffs with the winner advancing to take on Portugal 4 days later. The winner of that contest qualifies for the World Cup. In Group B, Senegal takes on Haiti, with Chile awaiting the winner. Group C sees Chinese Taipei taking on Paraguay and Papua New Guinea going through Panama, with the winners transferring on to the ultimate for the suitable to play for a World Cup berth.
Here are the 4 pots (world rankings in parentheses) for the draw:
- Pot 1: United States (1), Sweden (2), Germany (3), England (4), France (5), Spain (6), Australia (13), New Zealand (22)
- Pot 2: Canada (7), Netherlands (8), Brazil (9), Japan (11), Norway (12), Italy (14), China (15), South Korea (17)
- Pot 3: Denmark (18), Switzerland (21), Ireland (24), Colombia (27), Argentina (29), Vietnam (34), Costa Rica (37), Jamaica (43)
- Pot 4: Nigeria (45), Philippines (53), South Africa (54), Morocco (76), Zambia (81), Group A playoff winner, Group B playoff winner, Group C playoff winner
The draw will begin with every team from Pot 1 being drawn into one of many eight teams: Group A-H. As co-hosts, New Zealand mechanically goes into Group A and Australia is in Group B.
It’s additionally essential to notice that international locations from the identical confederation or geographical area can’t be drawn into the identical group. So, for instance, Brazil (from Pot 2) and Argentina (from Pot 3) cannot be in the identical group.
However, this rule does not apply to Europe. As there are 11 European nations (and probably 12 if Portugal wins its playoff), every group will have not less than one however not more than two groups from Europe. Thus, three (or 4) out of the eight teams will have two European groups. Also, as a result of the winners of the playoffs have not but been decided, there’s a slight likelihood there could be non-European groups from the identical confederation that find yourself in the identical group.
At some level, Canada will have to beat a top-ranked nation if it’ll win the World Cup. But avoiding a kind of groups in the group stage might pave the way in which for the Canadians to win their group and set them up towards a weaker second-place opponent in the following spherical.
“I really like Canada’s probabilities towards high opponents, however I’m really rooting for them to be drawn with one of many co-hosts as a result of this Canadian team has historically struggled in the World Cup,” Walsh stated. “I’d like them to construct confidence towards weaker sides, get out of the group comfortably as the highest team and face a [second-place team] in the spherical of 16. Canada’s veteran core is aware of navigate the rigours of event play and might pull from their Olympic gold medal expertise.”