Women’s World Cup 2015 draw preview: Time, TV schedule and how to watch online
Everything you need to know before the ping pong balls get picked.
The Women’s World Cup draw is made on Saturday in Ottawa, at which point the tournament’s contenders can start preparing for what’s ahead.
Hosts Canada are hoping to bounce back from a stunningly poor 2011 tournament and the 2012 Olympics, where they feel they were robbed by the officials in their semifinal against the United States. The USWNT, meanwhile, hasn’t won since 1999 despite making every semifinal and winning multiple gold medals since that time period.
Reigning champions Japan will be among the favorites again, though they might not be as strong as they were last time around. Golden Ball winner Homare Sawa is now 36, and they were hardly dominant in their run through the Asian Cup, though they did win that tournament.
The United States, tournament hosts Canada and defending champions Japan will be the unsurprisingly seeded teams to very casual followers. European champions Germany and France, a very deep and talented team that hasn’t quite grabbed their first major honor yet, are the seeded teams from Europe. Brazil, led by 5-time World Player of the Year Marta, are also seeded.
The field for this tournament has expanded from 16 teams to 24. This means that the teams have been separated into six groups of four, with most of the third-placed teams advancing to the knockout round of the competition. While FIFA’s decision gives more teams a chance to get to the World Cup and develop their women’s programs, which is certainly admirable, it means that this tournament might not get good until the quarterfinals. It’s a shame, considering that the 2011 tournament was probably the most exciting of all time.
They’ve been separated by geography after the seeds, like the men’s tournament.
Pot 1 – Seeds
Pot 2 – Africa, N. America and Oceania
Pot 3 – Asia, S. America
Pot 4 – Europe
So what does a group of death look like?
A seeded team, Costa Rica or New Zealand, Australia and one of Norway or Sweden probably makes up the nastiest possible group. And even then, the new format doesn’t make that too punishing. The team that fails to get out of that group won’t be, say, semifinal quality like the best victim of a men’s group of death can be occasionally. Even the worst (or best, depending on your point of view) case scenario won’t result in a worthy team going out early. It’ll just produce some very watchable soccer in the group stage.
Draw date/time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
Venue: Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada
TV: FOX Sports 1 (U.S.), TSN1 (Canada), Eurosport 2 (U.K.)
Online: FIFA.com (International), FOX Sports Go (U.S.), TSN (Canada)