2019 FIFA Women's World Cup draw: Qualifying teams, key information and how to watch
Editor's note: This story was originally published on Dec. 5 and has since been updated.
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.
- USWNT pre-Cup tour: U.S. team to play 10 lead-up matches
Group A: France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
Group B: Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
Group F: United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden
How does the draw work?
Having been placed into four pots based on the FIFA Women's World Rankings, countries will be drawn into six groups of four teams. Host nation 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.
Pot 1: France, United States, Germany, England, Canada, Australia
Pot 2: Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Norway
Pot 3: South Korea, China, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, Thailand
Pot 4: Argentina, Chile, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Jamaica
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)
Confederation of African Football (3 teams)
CONCACAF (3 teams)
CONMEBOL (3 teams)
Oceania Football Confederation (1 team)
UEFA (9 teams)
Top storylines to watch
Dream draw for the U.S.
While there are no lightweights in Pot 2, the U.S. would be happy to avoid past rivals Japan, Brazil and Sweden in the group stage, as well as reigning European champions the Netherlands. That leaves Norway and Spain, and given that Norway could feature Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg, who's taking a break from international soccer, Spain seems the ideal draw. In Pot 3, Thailand, currently ranked 28th, appears to be the best-case scenario. The U.S. beat Thailand 9-0 when they last played in 2016. In the final pot, the U.S. won't fear any of the five sides they are eligible to draw, but debutants Chile and South Africa would seem the least dangerous. The U.S. swept Chile by an aggregate score of 7-0 earlier this fall, so that familiarity might make them the most attractive draw for U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. -- Gus Elvin
Dream opponents: Spain, Thailand, Chile
Nightmare draw for the U.S.
The reigning World Cup champions are still the No. 1 team in the world and should have the talent to navigate any group scenario. That doesn't mean there aren't teams the U.S. will hope to avoid in the early rounds. Pot 2 features traditional powers Brazil, Norway and Sweden; 2015 World Cup runner-up Japan; and the Netherlands and Spain, two nations rapidly climbing the ranks of the women's game. Sweden is not the highest ranked side in this pot, but it always seems to give the U.S. trouble. The Blueyellow have lost only one of the past five matchups between the nations, and famously ousted the U.S. from the 2016 Olympics in a penalty shootout. In Pot 3, China is the second highest ranked team but probably the one the U.S. wants to play the least. The Chinese more than held its own against the USWNT in two June friendlies this year, losing twice by a single goal but creating numerous chances and looking dangerous in both. Pot 4 features three World Cup debutants but also Nigeria, who has appeared in all seven previous editions of the Women's World Cup and are led by three-time African Women's Footballer of the Year, Asisat Oshoala. The Super Falcons didn't get the results in 2015 but gave a good account of themselves in the "Group of Death" with Sweden, the United States and Australia, and Oshoala is the type of star player who can spearhead a major upset. -- GE
Nightmare opponents: Sweden, China, Nigeria
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. -- GE
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 was not finalized until just one day before.
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