The reigning champions, the United States women's national team, were placed in Group E alongside the Netherlands, Vietnam and a playoff winner during Saturday's draw for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
While the USWNT figures to enter next year's tournament as the favorite despite a recent string of lackluster results, other top contenders include a quartet of European sides: England, France, Germany and Spain.
Here's a look at some more key information for the event:
- Where: Australia and New Zealand
- When: July 20 through August 20, 2023
- Match Schedule: FIFA.com
The playoff tournament to determine the final countries in the 32-team field will take place in mid-February.
In 2019, the United States cruised through the group stage, winning all three games by a combined score of 18-0, before beating Spain, France, England and the Netherlands in the knockout rounds to capture the country's fourth World Cup title.
Carli Lloyd, who helped the U.S. capture the 2015 and 2019 World Cup trophies before retiring in 2021, sees a landscape where the "world has caught up" to the once unstoppable Americans.
"For so many years in the U.S., we've been a little bit ahead of the game," Lloyd told reporters. "We've had the support, we've had the investment. But now that support and investment is coming across the globe, and that's what you want. In order for the U.S. to continue to be great, they need others to continue to push them. And this isn't just going to be the biggest and best World Cup—it's also going to be the hardest."
Her comments follow the USWNT's back-to-back friendly losses to England and Spain in early October.
Pressure has started to mount on head coach Vlatko Andonovski to find the right combination of established veterans and rising stars to build next year's squad. A pair of friendlies against Germany in November will be the latest test of the squad's progress.
Germany is second on the all-time list with two Women's World Cup titles. Norway and Japan round out the past champions as the tournament heads toward its ninth edition in 2023.