35 countries in Europe will be competing for the chance to take part in the 2019 World Cup in France. The Germany women’s national team are looking forward to their opening World Cup qualification fixture in Ingolstadt against Slovenia on Saturday (14:00 CEST).
National coach Steffi Jones’ team will also meet the Czech Republic, the Faroe Islands and Ireland in group five. Five nations in each of seven groups will be competing on the European continent. European champions Holland must vie for qualification with the other nations along with runners-up Denmark. The only country to have already qualified for the World Cup are the hosts, France.
The 2019 World Cup is the third to be held on European turf, after Sweden 1995 and Germany 2011. Nine cities have been selected by the French Football Federation (FFF) to stage the eighth ever Women’s World Cup.
Valenciennes and Le Havre were successful in being selected in the North, while Reims and Paris were chosen in the East. In the Southeast, the vote favoured Lyon and Grenoble. The Côte d’Azur port city Nice as well as Montpellier and Rennes in Brittany round off the nine host cities. “The selection wasn’t easy – all the cities submitted excellent applications,” says FFF president Noël Le Graët. “The World Cup will move our cities, regions, amateur and professional clubs as well as the French population. The women’s game is experiencing rapid growth, especially in France. The World Cup will undoubtedly be a success from a sporting point of view and will attract the crowds.”
The winner of each of the European groups will directly qualify for the World Cup and the four best runners-up will meet in a playoff round in October and November 2018 to decide the eighth and final European participant in the World Cup.
24 countries will take part in the World Cup finals in France: eight European nations plus hosts France, five from Asia, three from Africa, three from North and Central America and the Caribbean, two from South America and one from Oceania. The third-placed South American team and fourth-placed North and Central American nation will compete to book the final place in the World Cup.