FIFA has confirmed the process, and the grouping of the teams in the pots, for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final Draw, following ameeting of the Bureau of the FIFA Women's Football Committee.
The Final Draw will be conducted during halftime of the first-ever FIFA Women's World All-Star Match to be played at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California. The All-Star match will feature the Olympic champion U.S. Women's National Team against a team made up of one player from each of the qualified teams and three world stars from countries that did not qualify.
The 16 participating teams will be divided into four pots containing four teams each. The previously announced top seeds -- China, Germany, Norway and the USA -- will form Pot A. The next three pots will be grouped according to geography and strength of the teams. Pot B will include the remaining European teams -- Denmark, Italy, Russia and Sweden. Pot C will contain Oceania champion Australia, South American champion Brazil, and the two remaining Asian teams Japan and DPR Korea. Pot D will contain the African teams Nigeria and Ghana as well as Canada and Mexico.
Pot A: China, Germany, Norway and USA
Pot B: Denmark, Italy, Russia and Sweden
Pot C: Australia, Brazil, Japan and DPR Korea
Pot D: Canada, Ghana, Mexico and Nigeria
There will be five total pots on stage. Four of the pots contain four yellow plastic balls, which twist open to reveal a slip of paper on which is written the names of each of the teams. The fifth pot will contain blue-colored plastic balls, inside of which are slips of paper for Pots B, C & D.
Pot A will be emptied first as the top seeds are placed randomly in the first row across the four groups. Then the fifth pot will be emptied to determine the order in which the Pot B, C and D are emptied. The teams from the pot that is chosen to be emptied first, will be placed randomly across the groups from left to right in the second position in the groups. This will happen with the third pot and then the fourth until all the groups are filled.
At the conclusion of the Final Draw, a representative from the Women's World Cup Organizing Committee will attach the letters A, B, C and D to the groups, and at that time, each team will then know the cities and stadiums in which they will play. The teams that are drawn with the USA will be in Group A as the Americans occupy the first slot in the group at A1. The team that is drawn into slot A4 will face the Americans in the Women's World Cup Opening Game on June 19 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
Europe, with six teams in the tournament, is the only Confederation that will have two teams in the same group. Two of the groups will contain two European teams. However, Japan and Korea DPR cannot be grouped with China, and Canada and Mexico cannot be grouped with the USA.
If a team is drawn into a group that already contains a team from their Confederation, the order in which the teams are placed in the groups will be adjusted, so as not to have two teams from the same Confederation. The next team drawn, if it is not from the same Confederation, will be placed into that group.
Because the USA cannot draw Canada or Mexico from Pot D, they are guaranteed to draw an African team. It will be the first meeting ever between the U.S.Women's National Team and a team from Africa.
Because Brazil, an Olympic semifinalist and the most improved team in the world over the last several years, is in Pot C, they will be placed in a group that contains a seeded team and a European team from Pot B, perhaps making that group the most difficult of the four.
With the expanded 16-team field for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, this willbe the first tournament with two teams from Africa and three teams from the CONCACAF region.