Host country Canada has drawn Ghana, Finland and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the first round of the International Soccer Federation’s (FIFA) Under-20 Women’s World Cup this summer.
The draw was made last Saturday in Montreal.
“We were very nervous to find out who we were playing,” said national coach Andrew Olivieri. “There is no easy group and we didn’t expect anything easy for our athletes. We are however pleased to see the variety of teams in our group so that will help our preparation. Looking at Group “B”, we will have a difficult task ahead of us should we get out of the group phase, but we will be ready.”
Canada will meet the Ghanaians in the tournament’s opener on August 5 in Toronto.
“It may be a bit intimidating, but we are up to the challenge,” said Ghana’s coach, Bashir Hayford. “If you asking me how Ghana will do, I want us to win the Cup.”
Group “B” comprises three-time and defending champions the United States, 2012 runner-up Germany, China and Brazil.
“We know we will encounter teams with various strengths, but we will come prepared,” said Brazilian Adilson Santos. “Brazil will help make this an exciting World Cup.”
Despite dominating the tournament, American coach Michelle French made it clear they are not underestimating their opponents.
“We have a great deal of respect for the teams in our group and fully expect each opponent to be excellent both technically and tactically, as well as extremely organized and competitive,” she said. “By the time we set foot in Canada in August, we want to ensure the players are armed with any and all information that will help them feel prepared and confident.”
Nigeria, which finished fourth in the last tournament, Mexico, England and Korea Republic are in Group “C” while the Group “D” contestants are New Zealand, Paraguay, Costa Rica and France.
The tournament will take place in Toronto, Edmonton, Moncton and Montreal from August 5 to 24.