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World Cup 2023: What you need to know about the tournament

Sophia Smith leads the USWNT onto the field for their October game against Spain. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The start of 2023 is fast approaching. And with it comes a World Cup year for all women’s soccer fans.

Here’s everything you need to know about the tournament, which is set to kick off in less than seven months.

When is it?

The tournament is set to kick off on July 20 and will run through August 20. The co-hosting countries will play in the opening matches: New Zealand will face Norway to start the festivities, and Australia will begin its run a few hours later against Ireland.

Where is it?

Matches will be split between Australia and New Zealand, with four sites in New Zealand and five sites in Australia.

  • Adelaide, AU – Hindmarsh Stadium
  • Auckland, NZ – Eden Park
  • Brisbane, AU – Brisbane Stadium
  • Dunedin, NZ – Dunedin Stadium
  • Hamilton, NZ – Waikato Stadium
  • Melbourne, AU – Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
  • Perth, AU – Perth Rectangular Stadium
  • Sydney, AU – Stadium Australia and Sydney Football Stadium
  • Wellington, NZ – Wellington Stadium

What is the draw?

The 32 teams at the tournament are divided into eight groups of four countries. In each group, the two highest-finishing teams will advance to the knockout rounds.

  • Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
  • Group B: Australia, Canada, Nigeria, Republic of Ireland
  • Group C: Costa Rica, Japan, Spain, Zambia
  • Group D: China, Denmark, England, Playoff Group B winners
  • Group E: Netherlands, United States, Vietnam, Playoff Group A winners
  • Group F: Brazil, France, Jamaica, Playoff Group C winners
  • Group G: Argentina, Italy, South Africa, Sweden
  • Group H: Colombia, Germany, Morocco, South Korea

To view the full schedule for the entire World Cup group stage, click here.

What is the USWNT’s schedule?

The USWNT will play three games during the group stage, beginning July 22.

Group E includes the team the United States beat in the 2019 World Cup final, the Netherlands. Still, USWNT legend Julie Foudy said the squad landed a “very winnable group” — one that became even more winnable with Dutch star Vivianne Miedema’s recent ACL injury.

  • Saturday, July 22
    • United States vs. Vietnam (Eden Park, Auckland)
  • Thursday, July 27
    • United States vs. Netherlands (Wellington Regional)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 1
    • United States vs. Intercontinental playoff winner (Eden Park, Auckland)

How many World Cup spots remain up for grabs?

Out of the 32 total spots in the World Cup, three are yet to be decided. An intercontinental play-in tournament in February will determine the final three entrants.

Ten teams from the six continental confederations have been split into three groups, and the winner of each group will stamp their tickets to the World Cup.

  • Group A
    • Feb. 18 – Cameroon vs. Thailand (Semifinal)
    • Feb. 22 – Portugal vs. Semifinal winner (Final)
      • The winner of the final will join Group E at the World Cup.
  • Group B
    • Feb. 19 – Senegal vs. Haiti (Semifinal)
    • Feb. 22 – Chile vs. Semifinal winner (Final)
      • The winner of the final will join Group D at the World Cup.
  •  Group C:
    • Feb. 19 – Chinese Taipei vs. Paraguay (Semifinal #1)
    • Feb. 19 – Papua New Guinea vs. Panama (Semifinal #2)
    • Feb. 23 – Winner of SF1 vs. Winner of SF2 (Final)
      • The winner of the final will join Group F at the World Cup.