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Vera Pauw’s Girls in Green learn Women’s World Cup fate after draw in Auckland

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw during the draw for the FIFA 2023 Women's World Cup 2023 at Aotea Centre in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Stephen McCarthy / FIFA via Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Aidan FitzmauriceIndependent.ie

THE Republic of Ireland will have the honour of playing on the opening day of the 2023 World Cup finals after today's draw placed them in a group with co-hosts Australia as well as Canada and Nigeria.

An hour after the convoluted draw started in Auckland today, the Republic were drawn out of pot 3 and added to Group B which already contained Australia and Canada. And Ireland being drawn as Team 2 in that group meant they would be first up against Australia on opening night, taking on the Matildas in Sydney on Thursday July 20th, with a trip to Perth to face the Canadians on Wednesday July 26th and then a final group game against Nigeria in Brisbane on Monday July 31st.

The tournament will kick off when the other co-hoists New Zealand take on Norway.

Vera Pauw will be reasonably pleased with the draw as the Republic avoided the real heavyweights like USA, Sweden, Germany and European champions England and she now has time to prepare for that big occasion of the opening night game in Sydney.

Canada will provide very stiff opposition as they are ranked seventh in the world, as they have qualified for the World Cup finals on eight previous occasions. Their best performance came with a fourth-place finish in 2003 and they are on an impressive run of form, just one defeat in their last 12 internationals.

Canadian players like Adriana Leon (Manchester United) and Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea) will be familiar to the Irish players in the Women's Super League.

Australia are 13th in the world and have a strong European influence, with a Swedish coach and a squad made up of players who mainly play for European clubs, notably captain Sam Kerr, the Chelsea star who has scored an astonishing 59 international goals.

Nigeria are one of the powerhouses of the women's game in Africa, having qualified for the World Cup finals on each occasion with a quarter-final finish in 1999.

England have been drawn into Group D alongside Denmark, China and either Senegal, Haiti or Chile.

The European champions’ first match will be against the winner of an intercontinental play-off, with Chile waiting to play the victor of a clash between Senegal or Haiti to claim a place in the group.

England’s games will take place in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.

Full draw

Group A

New Zealand

Norway

Philippines

Switzerland

Group B

Australia

Republic of Ireland

Nigeria

Canada

Group C

Spain

Costa Rica

Zambia

Japan

Group D

England

Intercontinental play-off Group B Play-off winner

Denmark

China

Group E

USA

Vietnam

Netherlands

Intercontinental play-off Group A Play-off winner

Group F

France

Jamaica

Brazil

Intercontinental play-off Group C Play-off Winner

Group G

Sweden

South Africa

Italy

Argentina


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