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The Best & Worst Case Scenarios For Ireland Ahead Of World Cup Draw

The Best & Worst Case Scenarios For Ireland Ahead Of World Cup Draw
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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After making history by qualifying for their first ever FIFA Women's World Cup earlier this month, the Republic of Ireland are set to learn their fate for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand tomorrow morning.

The group stage draw will be held at 7:30am Irish time, with the proceedings broadcast live on RTÉ.

While reaching the tournament was a massive achievement in itself, it is unlikely that the ambitions of Vera Pauw and her team will end there. They will want to go as far as possible, something that would certainly be aided by being handed a kind draw.

As part of Pot 3, they are likely to come up against against a couple of quality teams in their group. However, some routes would certainly be easier than others.

FIFA Women's World Cup draw pots

Pot 1: New Zealand, Australia, USA, Sweden, Germany, England, France, Spain

Pot 2: Canada, Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Italy, China, Korea Republic

Pot 3: Denmark, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Colombia, Argentina, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Jamaica

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Pot 4: Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Morocco, Zambia, Group A play-Off, Group B play-Off, Group C play-Off

Pot one contains the very top teams in women's football, as well as the two host nations. Pot 2 features eight strong sides, although some would present a larger challenge than others.

Pot 4 will contain some of the lesser nations, as well as those who advance from the intercontinental play-off tournament that is set to take place in February.

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Two teams from the same confederation cannot be drawn in the same group, although European sides are an exception. As there are 11 European countries, up to two UEFA members can be drawn together.

Here's what Ireland will be hoping for from the draw.

Best Case Scenario

New Zealand, South Korea, Ireland, Zambia

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As the 22nd ranked side in the world, New Zealand are certainly the ones teams will be hoping to draw from Pot 1. They sit only two spots ahead of Ireland in the rankings and Pauw's side would fancy their chances of getting a positive result.

Australia are the other team you would want. Not only is their 13th place ranking much lower than the other top seeds, but Ireland actually beat them in a friendly in Tallaght last year.

From Pot 2, South Korea look like the easiest option. They failed to win a game in the last World Cup in 2019 and are the lowest ranked side.

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Most of the Pot 4 nations look very beatable, with Zambia the lowest ranked of the bunch in 81st place. Morocco are the next best options in 76th.

The likes of Portugal, Chile, and Chinese Taipei/Papua New Guinea will be expected to also be part of Pot 4 after the intercontinental play-offs.

Worst Case Scenario

USA, Brazil, Ireland, Portugal

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This would be a bit of a disaster for Ireland.

The USA are the premier team in world football and the defending champions, meaning it would be difficult to get anything from a game against them. Sweden are the second best side in the world, although the Irish did manage to take a point from them during the qualifiers.

Pot 2 has a number of very good sides. Canada are probably the best of them, having won the Olympic gold medal last year. However, they cannot be drawn alongside the USA. Brazil take this spot as a result.

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Portugal look highly likely to advance from the intercontinental play-offs and would be by far the toughest opponent available in Pot 4. They sit one place ahead of Ireland in the world rankings, and coupled with the other two sides, would make the prospect of reaching the knockout rounds a very difficult one.

 

Conclusion

Ireland will be hoping to draw one of the host nations from Pot 1, with each of the other countries providing a very stern test.

In Pot 2, one of the two Asian nations are the lesser of the available evils, while any side apart from Portugal would be seen as a good outcome from the final pot.

Regardless of who comes out of the pot tomorrow, this Irish team have shown that they will fear any opposition. In saying that, it would be nice if they were given a small helping hand in achieving their goal of making a deep run in the tournament.

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

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