The draw for the 2023 Women's World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will be held on Oct. 22 in Auckland.
The draw, announced early Friday in New Zealand, will determine the groups for the preliminary stage of soccer's premier women's event, which will include an expanded field of 32 teams.
“The draw is an internationally significant event in its own right. It provides an opportunity for New Zealand and Auckland (Tāmaki Makaurau) to showcase our culture and traditions to a global audience," New Zealand Prime Minister Grant Robertson said in a prepared statement. “Today’s announcement also starts to create excitement as the draw reveals which teams we’ll be hosting in New Zealand.”
The draw will be televised internationally and showcase the host cities for matches in both countries. The World Cup is set to open on July 20, 2023 at Eden Park in Auckland. The final is set for Aug. 20 in Sydney.
China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines Vietnam, France, Spain, Sweden and Denmark have qualified for the event, joining hosts Australia and New Zealand.
The defending champion U.S. national team will play in the CONCACAF W Championship in Monterrey, Mexico, in July. The top four teams at the tournament will advance to the World Cup.
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Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press