Australia to face Brazil, Italy and Jamaica at World Cup
Australia and Brazil to meet each other in the group stage of the Women's World Cup for a record fourth time09 December 2018 | FT Editor
Australia will yet again meet Brazil at a World Cup, with the draw for next year's tournament completed early Sunday morning Australian time. This will be the fourth consecutive World Cup meeting for the two nations, having previously been drawn in the same group in 2007, 2011 and 2015.
Australia's other competitors in Group C are Italy and Jamaica. Australia is currently ranked sixth in the world, with Brazil at number 10, Italy at number 16 and Jamaica at number 53, the lowest-ranked team in France next year.
The draw for the tournament was held at a gala event in Paris amid a backdrop of unrest in France. There were widespread clashes between police and demonstrators protesting taxes under French President Emmanuel Macron, with the crowd even heard to be calling for US President Donald Trump who has lowered taxes for the biggest earners in the USA.
The Matildas will kick-off the campaign against Italy at the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes on 9 June 2019 (local time) before meeting Brazil at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier four days later, and Jamaica at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble on 18 June 2019.
Australian has previously played Brazil 18 times and Italy on eight occasions, but has not previously played the team nicknamed the Reggae Girlz.
It is a good draw for spectators with some fascinating contests ahead.
Host nation France (#3) face Norway and South Korea, while Nigeria has just won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
In Group B, Germany will be wary of China who are constantly improving, with huge wins in the Asian region, but also against the likes of Thailand who, in turn, beat Australia twice in July. Spain drew with Germany last month and are unbeaten in 2018, while South Africa only lost the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final on penalties.
Group D sees England play Scotland - a mouth-watering match-up for fans of both nations, and one of the toughest Asian competitors (besides Australia) in Japan, the 2011 winners. The fourth country, Argentina, are in their first Women's World Cup since 2007.
The 2015 hosts, Canada, face tough competition from the Netherlands in Group E, but Cameroon was thrashed 6-0 by France earlier this year. New Zealand will be an interesting proposition under experienced coach, Tom Sermanni. They haven't had much competition to win the Oceania group, but Sermanni knows what is needed to get the squad ready.
The number one ranked team in the world, defending champions, and perennial favourites for this tournament, are the USA. They face Sweden who knocked the USA out of the 2016 Olympics at the quarter-final stage. Thailand has defeated Australia twice this year and Chile did once - results that may make the USA a little nervous about their group opponents.
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