Canada to learn Women’s World Cup first-round foes at Saturday’s draw in Paris

Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller learns his team’s road map at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Saturday at the tournament draw in Paris.

Heiner-Moller will carry the Canadian colours at the draw along with Ashley Lawrence, who plays her club soccer for Paris Saint-Germain. The World Cup, which unlike the 2015 tournament in Canada will be played on grass, runs June 7 to July 7 in nine French cities.

Mia Hamm, Didier Deschamps, Kaka, Steffi Jones, Michael Essien, Alex Scott, Aya Miyama, Louis Saha and Carli Lloyd are among the stars who will take part in the draw at La Seine Musicale arts centre. Four years ago, the draw was held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.

The four pots for the draw were allocated based on world rankings released Friday.

“It’s good we’re finally in Pot 1,” Heiner-Moller said with a chuckle prior to jumping on a plane to Paris.

The Canadians earned that elite status this time. Canada was ranked eighth in the world going into the 2015 tournament but was slotted into Pot 1 for the draw as host country.

The Canadian women, currently ranked fifth, join the top-ranked and defending champion Americans in Pot 1 along with No. 2 Germany, No. 3 France No. 4 England and No. 6 Australia. Those teams will avoid each other in the opening group phase.

For Heiner-Moller, the only certainty is that his team won’t be drawn with Jamaica, which is also in CONCACAF. Teams from the same confederation can’t be placed in the same group, with the exception of Europe, which has nine entries in the 24-country field.

And that’s not a plus given the Reggae Girlz, at No 53, are in Pot 4 as the lowest-ranked team in the field. Canada is 7-0-0 all-time against the Jamaicans, outscoring them 48-1, although the most recent meeting — in October at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament — was only a 2-0 victory.

The Women’s World Cup has a generous structure with the winners and runners-up from each of the six groups, as well as the best four third-placed teams, advancing to the knockout round,

Pot 2 is strong with the seventh-ranked Netherlands, No. 8 Japan, No. 9 Sweden, No. 10 Brazil, No. 12 Spain and No. 13 Norway. Japan made the final in 2015, losing 5-3 to the U.S. before a crowd in excess of 53,000 at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver.

“We know all these teams,” said Heiner-Moller. “We have a good record against all these teams.”

Canada beat Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway last time out, split its last two matches with Sweden and lost to Spain.

Saturday’s draw allows the Canada coach to plan his pre-tournament schedule, which likely will involve teams similar in style to his first-round opponents. There are four FIFA international breaks before the tournament and Heiner-Moller plans to use all of them, including a return to the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

In 2015, Canada was drawn alongside China, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The host country finished atop its pool after beating China 1-0 — on a 92nd-minute Christine Sinclair penalty — and tying New Zealand 0-0 and the Netherlands 1-1.

The Canadians went on to edge Switzerland 1-0 in the round of 16 before losing 2-1 to England in the quarterfinals.

Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa are making their first World Cup appearance.

Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden and the U.S. have taken part in every World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1991. Canada failed to qualify for the first tournament, which featured just 12 teams with the U.S. as the lone CONCACAF representative.

The Canadian women are 8-4-0 this year, with losses to the U.S., Germany, France and Sweden.

Heiner-Moller will take 23 players to the World Cup.

Draw Pots (with world ranking)

Pot 1

1. U.S. 2. Germany 3. France 4. England 5. Canada 6. Australia

Pot 2

7. Netherlands 8. Japan 9 Sweden 10. Brazil No. 12 Spain No. 13 Norway

Pot. 3

14. South Korea 15. China 16. Italy 19. New Zealand 20. Scotland 29. Thailand

Pot 4

36. Argentina 38. Chile 39. Nigeria 46. Cameroon 48. South Africa 53. Jamaica.

Follow ↕NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Just Posted

Festival of Trees volunteers honoured at breakfast

This year’s Festival of Trees was able to provide the Red Deer… Continue reading

Two Red Deer filmmakers are finalists in web-series contest

Angel Peterson and Jason Steele are each creating pilot episodes with $20,000 prize

Sexual predator preyed on his own young daughter and niece

Eckville man sexually assaulted numerous children as young as two for nearly a decade

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians sentenced to 28 years

EDMONTON — A man convicted of attacking an Edmonton police officer and… Continue reading

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday Join us at the Senior Center Downtown House (5414 43 St.… Continue reading

Regina police say male driver dies at scene after collision with large truck

REGINA — Police in Regina are investigating a fatal crash in the… Continue reading

From fourth place, Singh says he’d rather push Liberals than work with Tories

OTTAWA — The New Democratic Party is sitting in fourth place after… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $31 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $31 million jackpot… Continue reading

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

VANCOUVER — Standing out in the rain on a path between tents… Continue reading

Advocate says Winnipeg must tackle poverty, addictions to end violent crime

WINNIPEG — A recent spike in violent crime in Manitoba’s capital has… Continue reading

Grizzly bears move north in High Arctic as climate change expands range

Some unlikely neighbours are moving in around the northernmost communities of the… Continue reading

Lawyers for QuadrigaCX clients request exhumation of late founder’s remains

HALIFAX — Lawyers for clients who lost millions in the bankruptcy of… Continue reading

Most Read