World of in­trigue

Canada to learn Cup foes at to­day’s draw

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS - NEIL DAVIDSON The Cana­dian Press

Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller learns his team’s road map at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Satur­day at the tour­na­ment draw in Paris.

Heiner-Moller will carry the Cana­dian colours at the draw along with Ash­ley Lawrence, who plays her club soc­cer for Paris Saint-Ger­main. The World Cup, which un­like the 2015 tour­na­ment in Canada will be played on grass, runs June 7-July 7 in nine French cities.

Mia Hamm, Di­dier Deschamps, Kaka, St­effi Jones, Michael Essien, Alex Scott, Aya Miyama, Louis Saha and Carli Lloyd are among the stars who will take part in the draw at La Seine Musicale arts cen­tre. Four years ago, the draw was held at the Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory in Gatineau, Que.

The four pots for the draw were al­lo­cated based on world rank­ings re­leased Fri­day.

“It’s good we’re fi­nally in Pot 1,” Heiner-Moller said with a chuckle prior to jump­ing on a plane to Paris.

The Cana­di­ans earned that elite sta­tus this time. Canada was ranked eighth in the world go­ing into the 2015 tour­na­ment but was slot­ted into Pot 1 for the draw as host coun­try.

The Cana­dian women, cur­rently ranked fifth, join the top-ranked and de­fend­ing cham­pion Amer­i­cans in Pot 1 along with No. 2 Ger­many, No. 3 France No. 4 Eng­land and No. 6 Aus­tralia. Those teams will avoid each other in the open­ing group phase.

For Heiner-Moller, the only cer­tainty is that his team won’t be drawn with Ja­maica, which is also in CONCACAF. Teams from the same con­fed­er­a­tion can’t be placed in the same group, with the ex­cep­tion of Europe, which has nine en­tries in the 24-coun­try field.

And that’s not a plus given the Reg­gae Girlz, at No 53, are in Pot 4 as the low­est-ranked team in the field. Canada is 7-0-0 all-time against the Ja­maicans, outscor­ing them 48-1, al­though the most re­cent meet­ing — in Oc­to­ber at the CONCACAF qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment — was only a 2-0 vic­tory.

The Women’s World Cup has a gen­er­ous struc­ture with the win­ners and run­ners-up from each of the six groups, as well as the best four third­placed teams, ad­vanc­ing to the knock­out round,

Pot 2 is strong with the sev­enth-ranked Nether­lands, No. 8 Ja­pan, No. 9 Swe­den, No. 10 Brazil, No. 12 Spain and No. 13 Nor­way. Ja­pan made the fi­nal in 2015, los­ing 5-3 to the U.S. be­fore a crowd in ex­cess of 53,000 at BC Place Sta­dium in Van­cou­ver.

“We know all these teams,” Heiner-Moller said. “We have a good record against all these teams.”

Canada beat Brazil, Ja­pan, the Nether­lands and Nor­way last time out, split its last two matches with Swe­den and lost to Spain.

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