Feb 24, 2023 - Sports
Women's soccer: The field is set
The field is set for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, which begins in five months and will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Why it matters: At 32 teams, this is the largest field in Women's World Cup history.
Driving the news: 29 teams were already in place, but the final three spots were booked on Wednesday in New Zealand at the intercontinental playoffs:
State of play: Those three are among the eight World Cup first-timers in this year's field, joining the Philippines, Vietnam, Zambia, Morocco and Ireland.
- On the flip side, there are also seven nations who have qualified for all nine Women's World Cups: the United States, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Nigeria and Brazil.
The intrigue: The U.S. — two-time defending champs and ranked No. 1 in the world — find themselves in the proverbial "Group of Death" for this summer's tournament.
- Their group's average FIFA ranking of 16.25 is by far the best of the eight groups, as they're joined by the Netherlands (8), Portugal (22) and Vietnam (34).
- Theirs is the only group without at least one team ranked lower than 40.