Cymru will join a record number of 50 other nations in the European qualifying draw for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup on Friday (30 April).
FIFA 2023 WWC Qualifying Round Draw
- 12:30 Friday 30 April
- Live on UEFA.com
New manager Gemma Grainger began her preparations for the qualifying campaign earlier this month with friendlies against Canada and Denmark in Cardiff. A respective defeat and draw followed against the higher-ranked opposition, but Grainger took plenty of positives from her first camp as the side showed a real attacking purpose to their play.
It proved to be a successful first camp for Grainger and there is a clear ambition within the group to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time. “I would throw my entire career in the bin if it meant that I could go to a major tournament with my country,” explained veteran midfielder Jess Fishlock prior to the match against Canada. “It's why I'm still here.”
Cymru, currently 31st in the FIFA World rankings, have been placed in Pot 2 for the draw that will split the 51 competing countries into six groups of six teams and three groups of five, with the fixtures scheduled to take place between September 2021 and September 2022. The finals of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand, with both nations automatically qualifying as hosts.
The nine group winners will qualify for the finals while the nine runners-up will compete in the play-offs that will take place in October 2022 with a further two teams directly progressing to the finals via that route. A third team from the UEFA play-offs will then compete in the inter-confederation play-offs, which will be a tournament of ten teams from the six FIFA confederations to decide the remaining three places.
Grainger will bring her squad back together for a training camp in June as preparations for a return to competitive action continue with the opposition standing between Cymru and a place at the finals confirmed. Having narrowly missed out on qualification during the last two campaigns under former manager Jayne Ludlow, there is a clear hunger within the group to finally get over the line this time.
“Jayne laid some fantastic foundations and now it is up to us to move things on even further,” said Grainger during her first meeting with the squad. “I am a passionate football supporter and an ambassador for women's football, I want to make the nation proud of the team. The players are passionate and they are really excited about what the next chapter looks like.”
2023 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP – UEFA QUALIFYING DRAW
Pot 1: Netherlands, Germany, England, France, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Italy, Denmark.
Pot 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, Scotland, Russia, Finland, Portugal, Cymru.
Pot 3: Czech Republic, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland.
Pot 4: Slovakia, Hungary, Belarus, Croatia, Greece, Albania, North Macedonia, Israel, Azerbaijan.
Pot 5: Turkey, Malta, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Latvia.
Pot 6: Montenegro, Lithuania, Estonia, Luxembourg, Armenia, Bulgaria.
13–21 September 2021
18–26 October 2021
22–30 November 2021
4–12 April 2022
29 August–6 September 2022
3–11 October 2022