The European qualifying group stage for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is in progress, running until 6 September 2022.
The record 51 contenders are split into six groups of six teams, and three of five. They are competing for nine direct spots in the finals as well as the chance to play off for two other European berths, and another in the inter-confederation play-offs, which like the finals will take place in Australia and New Zealand.
How it works
- The winners of the nine qualifying groups will progress directly to the finals in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023.
- The group runners-up take part in the UEFA play-offs in October 2022.
- In the play-offs, the three best runners-up will be seeded directly to round 2. The six remaining runners-up contest three single-leg play-offs in round 1.
- The three winners from round 1 and the three teams seeded directly to round 2 will then compete in single-leg play-offs determined by a draw.
- The two play-off winners with the highest ranking (based on results in the qualifying group stage and round 2 play-offs) will qualify for the finals.
- The remaining play-off winner will compete in the inter-confederation play-offs from 17 to 23 February 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.
Group A: Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Slovakia, Georgia
- Sweden secured a crucial 2-1 win against Finland, with Lina Hurtig scoring ten minutes from time in front a record 13,429 crowd at their Gamla Ullevi home in Gothenburg, before defeating Slovakia 3-0 in November’s other match to move on to 15 points from five games and in sight of the finals. The Republic of Ireland are up to second, eight points behind Sweden with a game in hand, after drawing 1-1 with Slovakia then beating Georgia. Finland are one behind Ireland.
Group B: Spain, Scotland, Hungary, Ukraine, Faroe Islands
- Spain, like Sweden, have five perfect wins after defeating the Faroe Islands and then producing a stunning display to see off previously unbeaten Scotland 8-0. That was Spain’s 16th victory in a row without conceding. Scotland are now five points behind having a few days earlier needed an added-time Abi Harrison goal to salvage a 1-1 draw against Ukraine. Hungary are up to third, four points behind Scotland, after an impressive 4-2 defeat of Ukraine. Spain visit Scotland on 12 April with the potential to settle first place.
Group C: Netherlands, Iceland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Cyprus
- In a game put back a day due to heavy snow in Ostrava, the Czech Republic twice led the Netherlands only to be twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw, the second equaliser deep in added time by Stefanie van der Gragt. The Dutch, who also previously levelled late at home to the Czechs, are two points clear of Iceland, who have a game in hand and defeated Cyprus in their November game. The Czech Republic are a four behind Iceland and one ahead of Belarus, who were held 1-1 by Cyprus for their first point in any senior women’s qualifier.
Group D: England, Northern Ireland, Austria, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Latvia
- Ellen White scored on her 100th England cap to secure victory against the side they meet to open UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 next July, Austria, and three days later her hat-trick in the defeat of Latvia meant she overtook Kelly Smith as the Lionesses’ all-time leading scorer. That leaves Sarina Wiegman’s side still perfect after six games, five points ahead of both Austria, who recovered from the England loss to win in Luxembourg, and Northern Ireland, victors away and at home against North Macedonia in November. The previous month, Luxembourg won 3-2 in North Macedonia for their first-ever points in a full qualifying group.
Group E: Denmark, Russia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta, Azerbaijan
- Denmark beat Russia 3-1 to go three points clear after a meeting of two teams that had won their first five qualifiers. Signe Bruun took her competition-leading goal tally to 12. Montenegro are six points off Russia after winning 2-0 in Malta, then losing 1-0 in Azerbaijan.
Group F: Norway, Belgium, Poland, Albania, Kosovo, Armenia
- Norway are three points clear after a victory over Armenia that was completed over the course of two days after adverse weather conditions initially forced the sides off in the 71st minute in Yerevan. Belgium, who lost 4-0 in Norway in October, defeated Armenia and Poland to stay within three points leaders. Poland are two points off second place after their first defeat in the group.
Group G: Switzerland, Italy, Romania, Croatia, Moldova, Lithuania
- Switzerland won 2-1 in Italy, whose perfect start was ended, then tasted victory in Lithuania to move to 18 points from six matches. Italy are three behind, their 5-0 victory in Romania opening up a six-point gap to the third-placed team, who have a fixture in hand.
Group H: Germany, Portugal, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Bulgaria
- A Lea Schüller hat-trick aided Germany to victory against Turkey, and she then moved to 11 goals in qualifying with one in the 3-1 success in Portugal that opened up a five-point gap, the two-time world champions on six wins out of six. The top pair meet again next on 9 April. Serbia’s home and away November defeats of Bulgaria, followed by a 5-2 victory in Turkey in the sole February fixture, moved them to within a point of Portugal. Turkey had ended 2021 with an extraordinary win against Israel; trailing 2-0 with 19 minutes to go, they ended up winning 3-2 after scoring twice deep in added time.
Group I: France, Wales, Slovenia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Estonia
- France defeated Kazakhstan 6-0 and then edged Wales 2-0 to stay perfect after six matches and open up a five-point lead over their previously undefeated visitors. Slovenia could have ended 2021 level with Wales but are two points behind after drawing 0-0 at home to Greece.
- Germany are aiming to follow their wins in 2003 and 2007.
- Norway were the other European world champions in 1995.
- Netherlands were runners-up in 2019.
- Sweden won their second straight Olympic silver medal in August; they took World Cup bronze in 2019 having been runners-up to Germany in 2003.
- Cyprus are making their Women’s World Cup debut.
- Luxembourg are taking part in a full qualifying group stage for the first time.
- Competing in UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 from 6 to 31 July: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England (hosts), Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands (holders), Northern Ireland, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Austria, England and Northern Ireland are also in the same group.
3–11 October 2022
Finals: Continental allocation/qualified teams
Hosts: 2 (Australia, New Zealand)
AFC: 5 (China, Japan, Philippines*, South Korea, Vietnam*)
Inter-confederation play-offs: 3
A ten-team tournament will be held in Australia and New Zealand from 17 to 23 February 2023 to decide the last three finalists.
AFC: 2 (Chinese Taipei, Thailand)
The teams will be split into three groups, two of three teams and one of four, with seeding decided by FIFA ranking. All three groups will be played as separate knockout competitions, with the winner of each qualifying for the finals. In the two three-team groups, the seeded team will go straight to the final (after playing a friendly against Australia or New Zealand) and meet the winner of a semi-final between the other two nations.
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