The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 draw was on Saturday, and we finally know who will be playing Canada, and who will be playing in Montreal.
Montreal, it was announced right before the draw, was going to host Brazil who were made the seeded team in Pool E. (Organizers can choose to place seeded teams in specific pools prior to the draw so they play in favourable markets – USA in Winnipeg, Japan in Vancouver as two examples.)
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Joining Brazil in Group E will be Korea Republic, Spain and Costa Rica.
Brazil, Costa Rica and Korea Republic all played games in Montreal during the women’s Under-20 World Cup this past summer. Spain is an interesting side, but their women’s program lags behind the success of their men’s team.
Montreal will also host one Canada group game, and it will be their final game against the Netherlands. Like Spain, the dutch women’s team is not as powerful as the men’s team. However, they do have Vivianne Miedema. The 18 year old led all of Europe in World Cup qualifying with 16 goals in 13 appearances.
The final group game Montreal will host will be the game between England and Columbia in Group F.
Aside from the group games, Montreal will also be hosting a round of 16 game between the winners of Group F and 2nd place in Group E as well as a quarter final and semi final.
Montreal’s attendance at the Under 20 World Cup wasn’t great, but expectations are higher for this event. The Under-20 is widely seen as a test event for organizers to see what works and what doesn’t.
I was at three games, including the Canada-North Korea, the semi-final and final. The atmosphere wasn’t great, but considering only one of the games included Canada, the other games were well-attended and supported but I’m not sure how many neutral fans were there for the soccer.
I intend on going to at least the Canada group stage game this time around but I also have an irrational love for Olympic Stadium, on top of wanting to see the best women’s soccer players in the world.
There has been wide spread marketing for this event, and I will be interested to see how Canada embraces it. It is expected that Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton will be sold out for the Canada games, but it remains to be seen if that support will spread the country.
Most of Canada has fallen in love with the Canadian women’s national team after a spirited tournament during the Olympics which is literally the best time to create a buzz. I’m optimistic that the support will carry over for this tournament.