Canada 2015 is a landmark FIFA Women's World Cup™, with 24 teams competing for the first time. FIFA.com takes a look at some milestone moments and historic facts before Saturday's highly anticipated Official Draw.
– Canada 2015 qualifying began in Europe on 4 April 2013. Once the final whistle blew in Port of Spain on Tuesday, when Ecuador overcame Trinidad and Tobago in dramatic fashion by scoring a stoppage-time winner to become the 24th and final team to qualify, a total of 128 teams had participated in qualifying around the globe, playing 398 matches and scoring a record 1,643 goals.
– Matches at the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in China PR in 1991 ran for 80 minutes in regulation time, with 40-minute halves. The procedure changed to 90 minutes starting at the 1995 edition. Leading up to China PR 1991, a total of 45 teams competed in qualifying.
– Ecuador head coach Vanessa Arauz will become the youngest head coach in the history of any FIFA women’s tournament when she leads La Tricolor at the age of 26. Conversely, if Ecuador were to face Spain in Canada, Arauz would go up against *La Roja’s *Ignacio Quereda, who would be 38 years her senior.
– Despite winning four of the six finals so far, Germany and USA have never met in the final of the tournament. The US have reached an unprecedented six semi-finals in every Women’s World Cup, so if the Stars and Stripes perform in accordance with history and the Germans play to their 2003 and 2007 levels, the two could set up their first ever final in Vancouver. Will the decorated sides meet in the final of Canada 2015? Saturday’s draw will reveal if the proposition is possible.
– Debuting with fellow Africans Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire will be participating in the finals of any FIFA women's competition for the first time. Clementine Toure's side booked their place at Canada 2015 by defeating South Africa 1-0 in the match for third place at the African Women's Championship, thanks to an 85th-minute winner from Ida Rebecca Guehai. Sixty-fourth on the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking, they will be the lowest-ranked side in the tournament, but their historic qualification will certainly bring the women's game in the country to new heights.
– Mexico have competed in two Women’s World Cups, in 1999 and 2011, and *El Tri *managed to score four goals in six matches in their two appearances. However, all four goals, against Brazil (1999), England and New Zealand (2011), came within the first 33 minutes of play. Conversely, Gaetane Thiney is the only player to score in the first half of a Women’s World Cup for France, in a 4-0 win over Canada in 2011. Head coach Leonardo Cuellar will be hoping his side can be effective and score goals in the second half of matches in Canada. He will surely be encouraged by the team’s performance at the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup 2014, when they were able to score late, defeating Trinidad and Tobago 4-2 after extra time in their crucial match for third place.
– There were some remarkable winning runs achieved by teams in qualifying for Canada 2015. In Europe, England, Germany, France and Sweden won all ten of their qualifiers. England and Sweden both managed to only concede a solitary goal, France’s 14-0 win over Bulgaria highlighted their strength in attack, and Germany scored the most goals in qualifying of any region (62). In Oceania, the Football Ferns of New Zealand cemented their place by clinching their third consecutive continental crown. They have won their last 11 Women’s World Cup qualifiers, with a tally of 101 goals scored.
– Norway have an illustrious history at the Women’s World Cup, having won the tournament in 1995. The *Gresshoppene *hold two records that have stood the test of time. Between Sweden 1995 and USA 1999, they tallied ten consecutive wins, and between 1991 and 1999, the Norwegians posted the longest scoring streak in tournament history, netting in 15 consecutive matches.