FIFA World Cup 2023 Draw announcedOct 22, 2022
The Football Ferns will open the 2023 World Cup against Norway on July 20 at Eden Park with the draw revealed in Auckland tonight.
The Football Ferns will like their chances of advancing to the knockout phase for the first time with Switzerland and Philippines also in group A while New Zealand will host World Cup favourites the USA for the group stage, a huge boost with the tournament’s biggest drawcard set to bring thousands of travelling fans.
Norway are ranked 12th in the world and won the tournament in 1991. The two nations played a friendly in Oslo in June, won 2-0 by Norway. But the Football Ferns have beaten them twice in their nine previous encounters, the last time being just three years ago.
“It’s going to be a huge, huge game. The girls will be up for it. Playing in front of a home crowd, lifting them. They’ll be ready to inspire a new generation of players, male and female,” said Football Ferns great Maia Jackman who was part of the draw.
New Zealand and world number 53 Philippines play in Wellington on July 25 followed by their final group match against Switzerland in Dunedin on July 30. The Football Ferns have previously played the Swiss four times, with three wins and one defeat but haven’t met in eight years. They played Philippines for the first time this year, a 2-1 comeback win in Los Angeles.
“Looking at the group, I think we’re going to make some history. We’re going to win a game, and let’s get out of the group,” Jackman added.
Co-hosts Australia will play World Cup debutants Ireland at the Sydney Football Stadium later on the opening day. In pool B they will also face Olympic champions Canada and Nigeria.
Group C featuring Spain, Japan, Costa Rica and Zambia will be based in New Zealand with the big clash between Spain and Japan in Wellington on July 31.
When USA was drawn out first in Group E there may have been a sigh of relief from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who was at the event, sitting alongside Fifa president Gianni Infantino. The number of travelling USA fans will go close to matching the British and Irish Lions supporters on New Zealand shores in 2017. The four-time champions chasing a third straight title will play Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, the first of two games for the USA in Auckland, the second being against the group B playoff winner to be decided in February (either Portugal, Cameroon or Thailand).
Wellington Regional Stadium will be the hot ticket when USA and Netherlands met in a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final. Should USA top Group E they would face a round of 16 clash in Sydney with a potential quarter-final back in Wellington and a semifinal at Eden Park.
The other New Zealand-based group is G which includes Sweden, Italy, Argentina and South Africa. World number two Sweden open their campaign against South Africa in Wellington on July 23.
Australia got the other drawcard teams with England being drawn in Group D, while fellow European sides France, in Group F and Germany in Group H are also expected to bring a strong horde of fans. The way the knockout fixtures are set, England, France and Germany won’t play any games in New Zealand.
- New Zealand
- Costa Rica
- Group B playoff winner
- Group A playoff winner.
- Group C playoff winner
- South Africa
- South Korea
Matches at Eden Park
July 20 – New Zealand v Norway, Group A
July 22 – USA v Vietnam, Group E
July 24 – Italy v Argentina, Group G
July 26 – Spain v Zambia, Group C
July 30 – Norway v Philippines, Group A
August 1 – USA v Play-off Group A winners (Portugal, Cameroon or Thailand), Group E
August 5 – Round of 16 – Winner Group A v Runner up Group C
August 11 – Quarter-final
August 15 – Semifinal