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Women’s World Cup draw preview – can England and Scotland be drawn together?

England and Scotland finished top of their European qualifying groups to make it through to the World Cup finals
Women’s World Cup draw
Watch on BBC Two and on the BBC Sport website from 17:00 GMT on Saturday, 8 December

England and Scotland will find out their 2019 Women’s World Cup opponents when the draw takes place in Paris on Saturday.

Both nations finished top of their groups in qualifying and will join 22 other countries at next summer’s World Cup, which is being held in France.

For the draw, teams will be split into six groups of four from four pots based on the Fifa women’s world rankings.

And England and Scotland could potentially be drawn in the same group.

The draw is live on BBC Two and on the BBC Sport website at 17:00 GMT on Saturday.

The World Cup kicks off on 7 June 2019 in Paris, with the final in Lyon a month later.

French World Cup winning men’s manager Didier Deschamps, former Brazil midfielder Kaka, ex-Manchester United striker Louis Saha and former England women’s player Alex Scott are among those involved in the draw.

It will take place in Boulogne-Billancourt in the Seine Musicale arts centre.

How did England do in qualification?

England were unbeaten in qualification for the World Cup as they finished top of the group

Phil Neville’s side qualified with a game to spare after beating Wales 3-0 in Newport in August, before rounding off the campaign with a 6-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan.

They finished top of Group One – five points ahead of Wales in second – and were unbeaten, only dropping points in a goalless draw with the Welsh in March.

Since then, the Lionesses have won friendlies against Brazil and Austria, but they drew 1-1 with Australia and suffered a disappointing defeat by Sweden in November.

How did Scotland do in qualification?

Scotland went top of their group after winning their final match in qualifying

Scotland will be competing in their first World Cup after securing qualification with a 2-1 win over Albania in September.

It was a dramatic finale to the qualifying campaign as Shelley Kerr’s side had to better Switzerland’s result against Poland to ensure they made it through.

That match ended goalless, which meant Scotland moved above Switzerland to finish top of their group after losing just once.

Analysis from former Scotland striker Julie Fleeting:

“It’s absolutely huge. To make history, with these players taking us to a World Cup finals after such an incredible campaign, is wonderful for the national side and girls’ and women’s football in general.

“Shelley [Kerr] had taken over a fantastic squad of players from predecessor Anna Signeul. She’s put her own stamp on the squad, changed the style of play and introduced some young, exciting players.

“The players respond so well to her coaching and you can see everything she asks of them, they manage to perform on the field.”

Who can they draw?

USA won the World Cup for a record third time in 2015 with a 5-2 victory over Japan in the final

England are in pot one and Scotland are in pot three. One team from each of the four pots will be drawn out of the hat but only one country from each confederation can be in the same group – apart from Europe.

For example, England can be drawn alongside one other European team but only one side from any of Africa, Asia, North, Central America and Caribbean, Oceania and South America. The same applies for Scotland.

It means both home nations could be drawn in the same group.

Pot numbers Countries in each pot
Pot 1 England, France, USA, Canada, Germany, Australia
Pot 2 Japan, Brazil, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain
Pot 3 South Korea, China, Italy, Scotland, New Zealand, Thailand
Pot 4 Argentina, Nigeria, Chile, Jamaica, Cameroon, South Africa

Three-time champions United States are the defending champions and are the only country to win the World Cup more than twice. They also top the world rankings so are the favourites to win the competition again. They are in Pot One which means England can’t draw them – but Scotland can.

Germany, ranked second, won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2007 but were beaten by England for the first time in 31 years in the third-fourth play-off in 2015. They cannot be drawn with the Lionesses but could be in Scotland’s group.

Hosts France are also potential opponents for Scotland, while 2015 runners-up Japan are in Pot Two and could be drawn with either England or Scotland.

South Africa and Chile are both making their debuts at the World Cup.

Where is the World Cup being played?

France will host the Women’s World Cup for the first time in the eighth edition of the competition.

The opening match will kick off in Paris on 7 June 2019 and the semi-finals will take place in Lyon on the 2 and 3 July. The final will also be held in the eastern French city, on 7 July.

There are nine host cities in total including Grenoble, Le Havre, Montpellier, Nice, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes.

France are the third country in Europe to host the World Cup following Sweden in 1995 and Germany in 2011.

The host nation, who are currently ranked fourth in the world after being overtaken by third-placed England earlier this year, were given automatic qualification for the finals.

The Stade de Lyon will host the semi-finals and the final of the Women’s World Cup in France

‘Netherlands the team to avoid for England’

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote:

“European champions the Netherlands are clearly the team to avoid in the draw for England, although 2011 World Cup winners and 2015 finalists Japan are not far behind the Dutch.

“Although Thailand are moving up the ranking, they still look a fair bit weaker than the closest team to them in Pot Three, Scotland, who are 20th in the Fifa world rankings compared to Thailand in 29th.

“With only eight teams going out at the end of the group phase, England are very likely to progress to the last 16, but this is a very competitive World Cup with at least 10 teams having a serious chance of reaching the semi-finals. The knockout part of the draw is likely to be crucial in deciding teams’ chances of going deep into the competition.”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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