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Women’s World Cup draw: What you need to know

Here is all you need to know heading into Saturday’s draw for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

The 411: Women’s World Cup draw, and beyond

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 (noon ET/5 p.m. GMT/6 p.m. local)

  • Where: La Seine Musicale in Paris, France

  • How to watch: In the United States, FS2 has the rights in English, while Telemundo and Universo will televise the draw in Spanish. FIFA’s official website will also have a live stream.

  • When does the 2019 Women’s World Cup start: The tournament begins June 7, 2019 and ends July 7, 2019, and will be held across nine venues throughout France.

How does the draw work?

[Editor’s note: The four pots will be posted here Friday once the latest FIFA Women’s World Rankings are released.]

Teams will be drawn into six groups of four teams each and will be placed into four pots based on the FIFA Women’s World Rankings (the latest list will be released Friday). Host country France is automatically placed in position A1 in Pot 1. No group can contain more than one team from each confederation; the one exception is UEFA, which has nine teams and each group must have no more than two UEFA clubs.

Which teams have qualified?

After qualifying matches held between April 2017 and Dec. 1 of this year, 24 teams reached the tournament. The allotment of slots is the same as the previous Women’s World Cup. Here are the teams that qualified, listed by confederation:

Asian Football Confederation (5 teams)
South Korea

Confederation of African Football (3 teams)
South Africa

CONCACAF (3 teams)
United States

CONMEBOL (3 teams)

Oceania Football Confederation (1 team)
New Zealand

UEFA (9 teams)
France (hosts)

Top storylines to watch

Is it finally host France’s time?

All eyes will be on France at the draw, as the host awaits the announcement of its three opponents in Group A. After losing in the semifinals in 2011 and the quarterfinals in 2015, only the ultimate prize will do for France this time around. The good news for Les Bleues is they have a team more than good enough to pull that off. Led by towering defender Wendie Renard, 2015 World Cup Silver Ball winner, Amandine Henry, in midfield and prolific scorer Eugenie Le Sommer (73 career international goals), the hosts are stacked at all three levels and have the makeup of a team that can win the entire tournament. The host side usually gets the breaks in terms of the draw, and France will be hoping for some of that good fortune on Saturday. France lost just one game in 2018 (1-4 to England in the SheBelieves Cup) and hope a good draw on Saturday will be the first step on its journey to World Cup glory. — Gus Elvin

Welcome to the Women’s World Cup

Four nations will make their Women’s World Cup debut in 2019: Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa. The odds may be stacked against these four countries, three of whom will likely be seeded in Pot 4. Don’t be shocked to see one or two advance. In the first edition of the 24-team tournament in 2015, Cameroon, the Netherlands and Switzerland all advanced to the knockout rounds in their first World Cup appearance. Keep an eye on Scotland, as the Scots are markedly improved from the 2015 cycle and feature a plethora of players who play at top clubs in England. — GE

Timing of draw shows FIFA is still failing women’s soccer

FIFA has made some strides in recent years regarding women’s soccer — including increased World Cup prize money and better travel accommodations next summer — but as the logistics of the World Cup draw show, in many areas FIFA is still painfully getting it wrong. The World Cup draw is set to be held Saturday in Paris, but almost unbelievably, the seeding for the draw is not finalized yet and won’t be until Friday, just one day before the draw. Comparatively, the men’s draw is also held in December but uses the October FIFA rankings. This quick turnaround would never be tolerated in the men’s game and makes it seem as though this tournament, the biggest in women’s sports, is being slapped together quickly and not properly thought out. This might not seem like the biggest deal at first glance, but considering all the other missteps FIFA has made regarding women’s soccer, it is another glaring example of women’s soccer not getting the equal treatment, respect and care it deserves. — GE

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