The stage is set and it is almost time for curtain up! As of Tuesday, Europe’s leading women’s national teams know exactly what obstacles they will have to overcome in order to seal a berth at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™. An exciting and tense qualifying competition is guaranteed.
In the draw for the first round of European qualifying, made at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Norway, England and Italy were handed the hardest tasks on paper. France and Iceland also face an early reunion after being drawn together at the UEFA Women's EURO in late summer this year. Qualifying starts on 19 and 20 September 2009, and will be completed by 25 August 2010.
A total of 41 European hopefuls were allotted to seven groups of five and one group of six. The eight group winners then go into a round of home and away play-offs on 11/12 and 15/16 September 2010, with the four winners booking places at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011. The four losers go into a further series of play-offs to determine which nation faces a representative from the North, Central America and the Caribbean for one further place at the finals. FIFA Women's World Cup holders Germany qualify automatically for the 2011 event as host nation.
European qualifying groups for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011:
Republic of Ireland