FIFA provides breakdown of expanded Women's World Cup field
ZURICH (AP) - CONCACAF will have four direct berths for the expanded Women's World Cup in 2023, and two more teams from the region will have the opportunity to join them via a 10-team playoff tournament.
The United States, Canada and Jamaica represented the Confederation for North, Central America and the Caribbean at the 24-team World Cup in France last year. A fourth CONCACAF country, Panama, had a chance to qualify, but lost a total of 1: 5 to Argentina in a home and away CONCACAF-CONMEBOL playoff.
FIFA released the breakdown for the 32-man women’s tournament on Thursday. Europe (UEFA) receives 11 direct slots, Asia (AFC) six and Africa (CAF) like CONCACAF four. South America (CONMEBOL) gets three and Oceania (OFC) one.
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Hosts Australia and New Zealand automatically qualify with their slots drawn directly from the odds assigned to their confederations.
There were nine teams from Europe on the 2019 World Cup field, including hosts France, five from Asia, three from Africa and CONCACAF, two from South America, one from Oceania and the winner of the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL playoffs.
The first Women's World Cup in China in 1991 had 12 participants.
Four teams will be seeded in the 2023 playoff tournament based on the latest FIFA world rankings prior to the draw, with a maximum of one team per confederation. The teams are divided into three pools - two from three countries and one from four - with teams of the same federal remaining separate.
The playoff tournament will serve as a testing event in Australia and New Zealand. Both hosts participate in friendly matches against teams in groups 1 and 2 to ensure that all teams play two games during the competition.
In other tournament news, FIFA has canceled the U17 and U20 World Cups planned for next year due to the pandemic. The next editions are now set to take place in 2023, with Indonesia still hosting the U20s and Peru the U17s.
FIFA says: "The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the hosting of international sporting events and is restricting international travel."
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