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Women's World Cup qualifying group stage latest: Spain, Denmark, France, Sweden in finals

See how European qualifying for the 2023 finals is unfolding, with a record 51 contenders aiming for Australia and New Zealand.

Spain celebrate qualifying with victory in Scotland
Spain celebrate qualifying with victory in Scotland AFP via Getty Images

The European qualifying group stage for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup is in progress, running until 6 September 2022.

The record 51 contenders are split into six groups of six teams, and three of five. They are competing for nine direct spots in the finals as well as the chance to play off for two other European berths, and another in the inter-confederation play-offs, which like the finals will take place in Australia and New Zealand.

State of play

Qualified:
Denmark (Group E winners)
France (Group I winners)
Spain (Group B winners)
Sweden (Group A winners)

Confirmed in top two of group:
Austria, England, Germany, Norway


How it works

  • The winners of the nine qualifying groups will progress directly to the finals in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023.
  • The group runners-up take part in the UEFA play-offs in October 2022.
  • In the play-offs, the three best runners-up will be seeded directly to round 2. The six remaining runners-up contest three single-leg play-offs in round 1.
  • The three winners from round 1 and the three teams seeded directly to round 2 will then compete in single-leg play-offs determined by a draw.
  • The two play-off winners with the highest ranking (based on results in the qualifying group stage and round 2 play-offs) will qualify for the finals.
  • The remaining play-off winner will compete in the inter-confederation play-offs from 17 to 23 February 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.
All the matches

Qualifying groups

Sweden drew with Ireland to book a finals spot
Sweden drew with Ireland to book a finals spotSPORTSFILE

Group A: Sweden (qualified), Finland, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Georgia

  • Kosovare Asllani equalised with 11 minutes left to give Sweden a 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland and the point they needed to keep up their record of qualifying for every World Cup final tournament. In the race for second place, Finland beat Georgia 6-0 to go two points ahead of Ireland, who have a game in hand. Slovakia are three points further back.

Group B: Spain (qualified), Scotland, Hungary, Ukraine, Faroe Islands

  • Jenni Hermoso scored twice to give Spain a 2-0 win in Scotland that books their finals spot with two games to spare following six perfect victories. Scotland remain a point ahead of Hungary. Ukraine, six points off second with two games in hand, will now face Scotland and Hungary on 24 and 28 June respectively.

Group C: Iceland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belarus, Cyprus

  • Iceland won 1-0 in the Czech Republic to go a point ahead of the unbeaten Netherlands, who host the leaders on 6 September in the group decider. The Czech Republic are nine points adrift of second place with a game in hand against Belarus on 28 June. The Netherlands' Vivianne Miedema is one behind Julie Fleeting's career record of 32 World Cup qualifying goals.
England celebrate Lauren Hamp's opener in Northern Ireland
England celebrate Lauren Hamp's opener in Northern IrelandThe FA via Getty Images

Group D: England, Austria, Northern Ireland, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Latvia

  • England's serene progress continued as they won 5-0 in Northern Ireland for an eighth perfect victory. They lead Austria, 8-0 victors against Latvia, by five points ahead of their game in Austria on 3 September. The top two are now certain of at least play-offs with their mutual UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Group A opponents, Northern Ireland, unable to catch either, though they did set a new attendance record of 15,348 in Belfast against England.

Group E*: Denmark (qualified), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Malta, Azerbaijan

*Russia excluded

  • Denmark have eight perfect wins and are through to the finals. Bosnia and Herzegovina lead Montenegro by a point for second place and have superior head-to-head goals scored shoud they finish level after a 2-0 away win in April.
Ada Hegerberg got a hat-trick on her Norway return against Kosovo
Ada Hegerberg got a hat-trick on her Norway return against KosovoNTB/AFP via Getty Images

Group F: Norway, Belgium, Poland, Albania, Kosovo, Armenia

  • An Ada Hegerberg hat-trick on her Norway return ensured a 5-1 win against Kosovo and a 2-1 defeat of Poland clinched a top-two finish and kept the unbeaten leaders three points ahead of Belgium, who beat Kosovo 6-1 with four goals from Tessa Wullaert, who is now top scorer across the groups on 15. That is one short of the European Women's World Cup qualifying best set by Adriana Martín for 2011 and Miedema for 2015, and two behind the record for UEFA women's qualifying set by Célia Šašić for Women's EURO 2013. Belgium host Norway on 2 September, potentially needing to to match the 4-0 scoreline of their October defeat in Oslo for any head-to-head tie-breaker. Poland are five points off second with two games left.

Group G: Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Moldova

  • A late Cristiana Girelli goal gave Italy a 1-0 win in Switzerland and took the Azzurre top, two points clear of their opponents. It marked a turnaround from November, when Italy lost 2-1 at home to Switzerland, whose perfect run ended in their opening April game as they were held 1-1 by Romania. A 1-0 win in Croatia kept Romania in contention, six points off Switzerland with a game in hand.
Serbia stunned Germany 3-2
Serbia stunned Germany 3-2Getty Images

Group H: Germany, Serbia, Portugal, Turkey, Israel, Bulgaria

  • Germany, previously perfect, suffered their first away qualifying defeat since 17 June 1998 as they were beaten 3-2 in Serbia courtesy of two goals by Bayern's Jovana Damnjanović on Tuesday, denying the two-time champions the chance to reach the finals with two games to go. Serbia are within three points of Germany, who have a head-to-head goal difference advantage over the second-placed team should they end up level. Portugal, in third, beat Bulgaria 3-0 to stay within two points of Serbia, who they visit on 2 September.

Group I: France (qualified), Wales, Slovenia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Estonia

  • France edged to a 2-1 win in Wales and then Delphine Cascarino clinched the 1-0 victory against Slovenia that ensured qualification for Les Bleues. Wales won 3-0 in Kazakhstan to go back into second, two points ahead of Slovenia. Greece are a further point back following their 3-0 defeat of Estonia. Wales face both Greece and Slovenia in September.

Team facts

  • Germany are aiming to follow their wins in 2003 and 2007.
  • Norway are the only other European world champions, having triumphed in 1995.
  • The Netherlands finished as runners-up in 2019.
  • Sweden won their second straight Olympic silver medal in August; they took World Cup bronze in 2019 having been runners-up to Germany in 2003.
  • Cyprus are making their Women's World Cup debut.
  • Luxembourg are taking part in a full qualifying group stage for the first time.
  • Competing in UEFA Women's EURO 2022 from 6 to 31 July: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England (hosts), Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands (holders), Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal*, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. *Portugal replace Russia.

Dates

Qualifying group stage
16–21 September 2021
21–26 October 2021
25–30 November 2021
23 February 2022
7–12 April 2022
23–28 June 2022
1–6 September 2022

UEFA play-offs
3–11 October 2022

Finals: Continental allocation/qualified teams

Hosts: 2 (Australia, New Zealand)
AFC: 5 (China, Japan, Philippines*, South Korea, Vietnam*)
CAF: 4
CONCACAF: 4
CONMEBOL: 3
UEFA: 11 (Denmark, France, Spain, Sweden)
Inter-confederation play-offs: 3

*Debut

Inter-confederation play-offs

A ten-team tournament will be held in Australia and New Zealand from 17 to 23 February 2023 to decide the last three finalists.

Continental allocation/Contenders
AFC: 2 (Chinese Taipei, Thailand)
CAF: 2
CONCACAF: 2
CONMEBOL: 2
OFC: 1
UEFA: 1

The teams will be split into three groups: two of three teams and one of four, with seeding decided by FIFA ranking. All three groups will be played as separate knockout competitions, with the winner of each qualifying for the finals. In the two three-team groups, the seeded team will go straight to the final (after playing a friendly against Australia or New Zealand) and meet the winner of a semi-final between the other two nations.