MANILA, Philippines – Tough competition awaits the Philippines in the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year as it got bunched with a former champion and two teams in the world top 25.
Qualifying for the quadrennial showpiece for the first time, the Philippines will face World Cup co-host New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland in Group A following the tournament draw held in Auckland on Saturday, October 22.
The 1995 champion, Norway holds the distinction as the highest-ranked team in Group A at No. 12 in the world and is coming off a quarterfinal finish in the 2019 edition.
Switzerland and New Zealand are ranked No. 21 and No. 22 in the world, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Philippines sits at No. 53 in the world and is the fourth-lowest ranked team among the 29 squads that qualified for the international tiff to be hosted by New Zealand and Australia starting in July.
A total of 32 teams will see action in the World Cup, with three more squads advancing through the inter-confederation playoff tournament.
“We will definitely pull out all the stops to ensure that the team will go into the World Cup as prepared as possible,” said Philippine Football Federation secretary general Edwin Gastanes in a statement prior to the draw.
Two-time defending champion United States goes up against Vietnam, the Netherlands, and a playoff winner in Group E, while reigning Olympic champion Canada tangles with Australia, Ireland, and Nigeria in Group B.
Germany, the 2003 and 2007 winner, battles Korea, Colombia, and Morocco in Group H, while 2011 titlist Japan clashes with Spain, Costa Rica, and Zambia in Group C.
The other groups pit England, China, Denmark, and a playoff winner in Group D, Brazil, France, Jamaica, and a playoff winner in Group F, and Argentina, Sweden, South Africa, and Italy in Group G.
Only the top two teams from each of the eight groups will reach the knockout stage. – Rappler.com