Canada prepared to welcome the world

There is no doubt that Canada has, in recent years, proven that it can stage major footballing events. The three competitions previously held by the Canadians – the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship 2002, the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2007 and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2014 – all stood out for their excellent level of organisation. The FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, expanded from 16 teams to 24 for the first time, is therefore in very good hands.

On Saturday 6 December, the eyes of the football world will turn to Ottawa, the host nation’s capital city, which will stage the Final Draw for the prestigious contest. From 12:00 pm (local time) onwards, in the confines of the Canadian Museum of History, nations competing in the seventh edition of the tournament, which is set to run from 6 June to 5 July 2015, will find out which opponents lie in wait for them next year.

Adding to the intrigue, the four teams that have shared the six previous global crowns between them will all be present in North America. “Canada is a warm and welcoming country, and we look forward to greeting the world’s best female footballers,” Peter Montopoli said, CEO of the National Organising Committee.

The former winners – Germany and United States (two victories each), as well as Norway and Japan (one victory each) – will be highly fancied, but there will also be numerous teams in Canada that can be considered dark horses, such as Brazil, France, China PR and Sweden.

In addition, there will be several countries making their tournament bows. Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Costa Rica, Spain, Ecuador, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Thailand's fans are likely to be both nervous and excited at the thought of what the Final Draw holds in store for them.

Six cities, six groups The ceremony is scheduled to last almost an hour, during which Canada will provide a taste of what awaits the participants and visitors coming from all over the world. This will come courtesy of cultural and artistic performances, appearances from national sporting legends, and speeches and videos presenting the competition and the host nation, as well as the latter’s passion for sport and women’s football in particular.

By the end of the ceremony, the 24 teams taking part will have been divided into six pools of four, and all of the fixtures as well as the schedule of group-stage matches will have been determined. The team going head-to-head with Canada in the opening match on 6 June in Edmonton will also be known.

Overseeing affairs in Ottawa will be FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and Tatjana Haenni, FIFA Deputy Director of the Competitions Division and Head of Women’s Football, who will both be assisted by a number of national celebrities, including Kara Lang, an iconic Canadian forward.

“Next year’s competition will bring the world’s best players to Canada, and the worldwide coverage they receive will inspire young girls everywhere to get involved in football,” Haenni said during a FIFA site inspection in October.

Aside from Ottawa, five other cities – Moncton, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver – will host matches next summer, but they will also be under the spotlight on Saturday, as each one is due to organise a local event that will run in tandem with the Final Draw. But it is in Ottawa, and on FIFA.com, which will broadcast the entire proceedings live, that the much-awaited tournament will begin to take shape.

“The Women’s World Cup represents the peak of international football," Victor Montagliani, chairman of the National Organising Committee said. "The planet’s 24 best teams will provide us with all kinds of exciting moments during the 52 scheduled matches."