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Deepest field ever prepares for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™

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This summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ will feature the deepest field the competition has ever seen. For the first time, 24 nations will participate in the finals, with a newly expanded 30-day, 52-match format extending from 6 June to 5 July.

Held every four years, the last FIFA Women’s World Cup™ finals at Germany 2011 was 22 days long, featured 32 matches, and had just 16 finalists. This year’s 30-day FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ is the second longest FIFA competition behind the men’s FIFA World Cup™.

The expanded finals meant that four confederations were granted one more spot while Europe was granted four more spots through the preliminary phase. FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Qualifiers ran for nearly 20 months from 4 April 2013 to 2 December 2014, with only host Canada granted an automatic berth to skip the preliminary phase.

Following 398 matches played by 128 nations in 79 different countries, the 24 finalists were drawn into six groups at the Official Draw in Canada on 6 December 2014.

“To a greater goal, there is a record 129 nations participating in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™: that’s nearly three times the number of nations that participated in the inaugural edition back in 1991,” said Victor Montagliani, Chair of the National Organising Committee for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™. “Ideally, this summer’s finals in Canada will serve as an inspiration to all member associations to continue to grow the women’s game at both the domestic and international levels.”

Familiar foes and first-time finalists

All four former world champions – USA, Norway, Germany and Japan – are back for another run at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ title. USA (CONCACAF), Germany (Europe) and Japan (Asia) are also reigning confederation champions, while Norway were runners up at the most recent EURO in 2013.

Along with the four former world champions, Brazil, Nigeria and Sweden make up a group of seven nations that have participated at all seven finals since 1991. Heading into Canada 2015, Brazil are reigning South American champions, Nigeria are reigning African champions, and Sweden were third best at EURO 2013.

Eight nations, meanwhile, have qualified to the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ finals for the first time. Those eight nations qualified at the expense of eight former finalists that missed the cut for Canada 2015.

Cameroon (2012 Olympic Tournament), Côte d’Ivoire, Netherlands and Thailand (all three at the 1988 World Tournament) have appeared on the world stage before, but never at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ finals. Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain and Switzerland are also appearing at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ finals for the first time.

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