Phil Neville’s England will play Shelley Kerr’s Scotland in Group D’s opening match of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
The two countries, who were also in the same group for 2017’s European Championships in the Netherlands, will go head to head in Nice on June 9th as they get their campaigns underway.
The draw for the tournament was made last week in Paris, with former Arsenal Women’s defender and captain Alex Scott overseeing the proceedings alongside former men’s player Louis Saha. Assistants included the likes of Steffi Jones, Aya Miyama and World Cup winning men’s coach, Didier Deschamps who drew England from Pot 1.
For the draw, there were four pots where the teams were drawn from and England were in Pot 1 with the likes of the 2015 winners USA, hosts France and Germany.
Each pot was drawn into six groups of four teams, England and Scotland ending up in Group D together, France with teams such as Norway and African champions Nigeria and perhaps Group C the most interesting. Australia were drawn with Italy, who are making their return to the competition after a 20 year absence, Brazil and newcomers Jamaica.
City’s Janine Beckie and Canada are in Group E with Euro 2017 winners the Netherlands and New Zealand while former Blues Carli Lloyd and Kosovare Asllani have been drawn together in Group F, the USA and Sweden old enemies following their match in the 2016 Olympics.
The draw sees Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Karen Bardsley and co go up against Jen Beattie, Claire Emslie, Caroline Weir and former City player Jane Ross should they be chosen.
When asked about the draw, Lionesses manager Phil Neville said: “It’s a fine looking group we’ve got. We’ve got three teams that will compete against each other in a fabulous way. I think the Scotland game will get the most interest – and rightly so – because of the rivalry, which I think is something we should enjoy and embrace. It shows how far the women’s game has come”.
Scotland manager Shelley Kerr said: “The one thing we can’t afford to do Is get caught up in the England game. We can’t allow that to distract ourselves because when you’re involved all you want to do is concentrate and prepare as best you can. But it is what it is and unfortunately it probably will be a circus”.
“I think there were other groups in there I would have favoured, but I think we should be aiming to get out the group even though we know it’s going to be tough”.
“We will have to be at our best in all three games, if we’re going to have a chance of getting out of the group. I’m not going to predict anything, but we will set a target and stick to it. We all have to be at our best in all three games”.
The WWC draw is as follows:
France, Korea Republic, Norway and Nigeria
Germany, China PR, Spain and South Africa
Australia, Italy, Brazil and Jamaica
England, Scotland, Argentina and Japan
Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand and the Netherlands
USA, Thailand, Chile and Sweden
England and Scotland’s group fixtures are as follows:
June 9th – England v Scotland in Nice
June 14th – England v Argentina in Le Havre
Scotland v Japan in Rennes
June 19th – England v Japan in Nice
Scotland v Argentina in Paris