Ireland Handed Tricky 2023 World Cup Draw

Ireland Handed Tricky 2023 World Cup Draw
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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Vera Pauw's Ireland team qualified for the World Cup in style in their play-off against Scotland earlier this month, and attention turned quickly to the draw for the competition.

The draw for the group stages was made on Saturday morning Irish time, and it's a seriously tough group for Ireland's first World Cup venture.

Ireland's group includes World Cup hosts Australia, as well as tournament heavyweights Canada. Nigeria complete the group.

It will be a huge test for Ireland on their first visit to the World Cup.

Ireland World Cup draw: Tough assignment for Vera Pauw's team

For Ireland, the road to a major tournament has been long and tough. Finally, they will get their bow on the biggest stage of all at next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Hopes were high that Ireland could avoid the biggest names in Saturday's draw, but they have been handed a tricky draw.

GROUP B: Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada

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Hosts Australia are ranked 13th in the world, and will be spurred on by the home crowd. Ireland did, however, hold them to a draw in Tallaght last year, so they can at least hope for a repeat result.

Canada are the big name in the group, and will pose a huge challenge for Vera Pauw's side. Ranked number 7 in the world, they have qualified for every World Cup since the 1995 edition, and will bring huge experience into their clash with Ireland. It will be a tough assignment for Ireland to get anything out of their game with Canada.

Nigeria pose the best opportunity for Ireland to claim a win in the group. With Ireland ranked 24th in the world, and Nigeria ranked 44th, Ireland will be favourites when they take on the Super Falcons. Their game against Nigeria will be the last of th group stages - Ireland can only hope that there is still something to play for by then.

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Ireland will also have a mammoth amount of travelling on their hands at next year's World Cup. Their first game will take place in Sydney on the east coast, before traversing the country to the west coast and Perth for their clash with Canada. Their final game is back on the east coast in Brisbane.

Group B schedule

GAME 1 - Ireland v Australia, 20-07-2023 - Sydney

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GAME 2 - Ireland v Canada, 26-07-2023 - Perth

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GAME 3 - Ireland v Nigeria, 31-07-2023 - Brisbane

Full World Cup draw

GROUP A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland

GROUP B: Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada

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GROUP C: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan

GROUP D: England, Play-off winners, Denmark, China

GROUP E: USA, Vietnam, Netherlands, Play-off winners

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GROUP F: France, Jamaica, Brazil, Play-off winners

GROUP G: Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina

GROUP H: Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea

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Group F presents a mouthwatering tie between two of the world's top ten in France and Brazil. If Ireland progress to the last 16, they will play either the winners or runners up of group D - presenting the possibility of a knockout stage clash with England.

It will not be an easy task for Ireland on their first visit to the World Cup. Though they will be happy to have avoided the likes of the USA and England at the group stage, the duo of Australia and Canada will pose a massive threat to the World Cup newcomers.

The excitement of facing some of the world's best on the biggest stage, however, may supersede that for Irish fans. And, having come this far, we doubt anything is going to phase this Irish team. Bring it on.

SEE ALSO: French Star Kenza Dali Sums Up Scale Of Ireland's World Cup Achievement

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