A record 51 European countries have entered qualifying for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in the hope of reaching the finals in Australia and New Zealand in two years’ time.
The 2023 tournament is to be the biggest women’s competition yet after FIFA opted to extend the tournament from the 24 countries that were seen in 2015 and 2019, to 32. There are 11 guaranteed places for European qualifiers in 2023, an increase of three from each of the last two World Cups.
The 51 European hopefuls have been divided into nine groups of either five or six teams. Each group winner will automatically secure their place at the World Cup, with the nine group runners-up entering a mini-playoff competition to determine who gets the final two guaranteed places.
The third best team from the European playoffs will have one final chance to make it to the finals by entering the10-team inter-confederation playoffs. This competition will be held in Australia and New Zealand five months before the World Cup itself and will also double as a test event.
European qualifying draw for the 2023 Women's World Cup
Group A: Sweden, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Georgia
Group B: Spain, Scotland, Ukraine, Hungary, Faroe Islands
Group C: Netherlands, Iceland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Cyprus
Group D: England, Austria, Northern Ireland, North Macedonia, Latvia, Luxembourg
Group E: Denmark, Russia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Malta, Montenegro
Group F: Norway, Belgium, Poland, Albania, Kosovo, Armenia
Group G: Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Croatia, Moldova, Lithuania
Group H: Germany, Portugal, Serbia, Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria
Group I: France, Wales, Slovenia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Estonia
European qualifying will begin in September 2021 and conclude in September 2022. The European playoffs will then take place in October 2022.
No country from Europe has won the Women’s World Cup since Germany lifted back-to-back trophies in 2003 and 2007. The last three World Cups have been won by the United States (2019, 2015) and Japan (2011), with Norway (1995) the only other European winner.