Pathway to Japan 2012 glory revealed
© FIFA.com

The countdown to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 is on in earnest after the Official Draw was held at the Conrad Hotel in downtown Tokyo on Monday.

Representatives from each of the 16 qualified nations followed events carefully as their opponents for the group stages of the tournament were revealed.

The draw itself was presided over by Tatjana Haenni, FIFA's Head of Women's competitions, and carried out by four star members of Japan’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™-winning side, namely Homare Sawa, Kozue Ando, Azusa Iwashimizu and Saki Kumagai. Also assisting were Nogizaka 46, with the local pop-chart toppers adding some youth-orientated colour for the assembled audience.

In Group A, hosts Japan were drawn alongside Mexico, Switzerland, and New Zealand. The Japanese have shown tremendous progress in the last year, following in the senior side's footsteps, while tournament regulars Mexico will also be looking to impress.

South American heavyweights Brazil will be looking to erase the memory of a group stage exit at Germany 2010 when they take on Group B opponents Korea Republic, Italy, and Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Korea DPR, who were runners-up in 2008, will face Canada, Norway, and Argentina in Group C, but Group D appears the toughest section as two-time world champions USA have been pitted against holders Germany, China PR, and Ghana.

The tournament will commence on 19 August with the victor of the sixth FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup to be determined when the final takes place on 8 September. The 21-day tournament will take place across five venues, including Hiroshima, Kobe, Miyagi, Saitama and Tokyo, with the historic Japanese capital playing host to the final.

The 16 teams were split into four groups of four, with the top two teams from each group progressing to the quarter-finals. 

The groups:
Group A: Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, New Zealand
Group B: Brazil, Korea Republic, Italy, Nigeria
Group C: Korea DPR, Canada, Norway, Argentina
Group D: USA, China PR, Germany, Ghana

Ticket sales for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 will commence on 23 June via FIFA.com. Ticketing prices will vary in categories across the different matches and a special ticketing price is being offered for fans below the age of 20, the same age limit for the participating players, in the Category 3 area.