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Former Brazil player Gilberto Silva displays the country China during the football draw ceremony for the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup at the Aotea Centre in Auckland on October 22, 2022. Photo: AFP

Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023: China drawn with European champions England in Group D

  • Denmark and a play-off winner will round out China’s group in Australia and New Zealand next summer
  • Holders the United States are placed in Group E with the Netherlands, whom they beat in the 2019 final

The Asian champions will meet the European champions in the group stage of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, with China drawn alongside England.

The group draw for the tournament – which will be staged next summer in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20 – was held in Auckland on Saturday.

China’s “Steel Roses”, who won the women’s AFC Asian Cup this year, face a tough start, with Denmark also in Group D.

The fourth team in the group will be determined by a play-off round robin between Chile, Haiti, and Senegal, to be held in February next year.

The draw also threw up a repeat of the 2019 final, with holders and four-times champions the United States drawn alongside the Netherlands, whom they defeated to lift the trophy in 2019. Vietnam and the Group A play-off winner will join the pair in Group E.

Shui Qingxia’s China will be looking to build on the momentum gained from their regional triumph in February, when they came from 2-0 down to stun South Korea and win the AFC Asian Cup final.

China’s coach Shui Qingxia arrives for the draw ceremony. Photo: AFP

Fans on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Weibo were cautious over their team’s chances after the draw was made, but backed them nonetheless.

“To be honest, it’s a bit difficult,” wrote one user. “But the women’s football team have always dared to fight. There is still a great chance. Come on!”

“The men’s football side can’t be counted on,” another user said. “So you have to look at the women. Women’s football has earned China a place in world football. I wish them good luck and good results in the competition.”

“To be in the same group as the old powerhouses is a fantasy for the men’s football team,” read another comment. “We don’t care whether it’s a men’s team or a women’s team, it’s a national team anyway.”

China narrowly advanced from the group stage at the 2019 World Cup, despite finishing third with four points from three games. They were then beaten 2-0 by Italy in the last 16.

They did not fare well at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last summer, either, finishing bottom of their group. They lost 5-0 to Brazil and 8-2 to the Netherlands, drawing 4-4 with Zambia in between.

Draw for Women’s World Cup 2023

Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland

Group B: Australia, Republic of Ireland, Nigeria, Canada

Group C: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan

Group D: England, Group B play-off winner, Denmark, China

Group E: USA, Vietnam, Netherlands, Group A play-off winner

Group F: France, Jamaica, Brazil, Group C play-off winner

Group G: Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina

Group H: Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea