The World Cup is nine months away, and yet another is less than two years from kicking off. One will take place in Russia, the other in France. Qualifying is in the deep stages of one, while in the baby phases of the other.
As the countdown toward the 2018 men’s tournament continues, the 2019 women’s competition is beginning to take shape. On Tuesday, FIFA broke from Russian preparations to unveil the logo, slogan (“Dare to Shine”) and additional scheduling details for the eighth Women’s World Cup.
The tournament, won in 2015 by the United States for the third time, will begin June 7 at Parc des Princes in Paris and conclude July 7 at Stade de Lyon. At the epicenter of women’s soccer development in France, Lyon will also stage the July 2-3 semifinals.
Other key dates:
June 22-25, round of 16
June 27-29, quarterfinals
July 6, third-place match
The venues: Paris, Lyon, Valenciennes, Reims, Le Havre, Rennes, Grenoble, Montpellier and Nice
Only Paris, Lyon and Montpellier were sites during the 1998 (men’s) World Cup. Additional match locations and dates have not been finalized.
Seating capacities range from 20,000 to 37,000, except in Paris (48,000) and Lyon (59,186). All are equipped with natural grass, a refreshing change from the 2015 tournament in Canada with entirely artificial turf fields.
As the host, France will receive an automatic berth in the 24-team event. Ranked No. 4 in the world, the French are primed for their first appearance in a World Cup, Olympic or Euro final.
The top-ranked United States, which defeated Japan in the 2015 final in Vancouver, is a heavy favorite for one of CONCACAF’s three slots at a regional qualifying competition sometime in 2018. Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica are the other top contenders. The fourth-place CONCACAF team will enter a playoff against South America’s third-place side late next year.
UEFA will send eight teams to the World Cup, with Euro champion Netherlands joining Germany, England, Sweden, Spain and Italy in the favorites’ role. Asia will get five slots, Africa three, South America two and Oceania one.