The road to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada begins on Thursday in Malta and Lithuania as the two preliminary round mini-tournaments begin.
Two nations are making their debuts at this level, with Albania playing their first ever women's games in Malta for Group 1 against the hosts, Luxembourg and Latvia. Montenegro have contested Under-17 fixtures but their senior bow comes in Vilnius against the Faroe Islands, Georgia and hosts Lithuania in Group 2.
Matches take place on Thursday, Saturday and next Tuesday, and the top two in each group will progress to the qualifying group stage, joining the 38 top-ranked nations. Seven groups of six teams will be drawn on 16 April, to be played on a home-and-away basis from 20/21 September 2013 to 17 September 2014.
The seven group winners qualify for the finals. The four runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups go into two rounds of knockout play-offs drawn on 23 September. Those ties take place on 25/26 and 29/30 October, and 22/23 and 26/27 November 2014 as the remaining UEFA berth in Canada is decided.
The finals will be played from 6 June to 5 July 2015 in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
Group 1: Albania, Luxembourg, Malta*, Latvia
Group 2: Georgia, Faroe Islands, Lithuania*, Montenegro
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