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EMPICS Sport The FIFA Women's World Cup trophy is raised by the United States in 2019.
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Vera Pauw's Ireland set to learn World Cup qualifier fate
The draw takes place for the World Cup qualifiers later today.

THE REPUBLIC OF Ireland women’s national team will today learn their opponents for the qualification phase of the 2023 World Cup. 

The draw kicks off at 12.30pm Irish time, and will be streamed live on Uefa’s website. 

Just as their male counterparts were for their World Cup qualifier draw last year, Ireland are ranked among the third seeds in the draw.

To qualify automatically for the 2023 edition to be staged across Australia and New Zealand, Ireland must top their group. The runners-up across each of the nine groups do earn a second chance, albeit through a very convoluted play-off system. 

The three best-ranker runners-up earn a bye into the second round of the play-offs, where they will meet the three sides to come through one-legged play-offs among the remaining six runners-up. A draw will then pit these six sides against each other in one-legged games, and the two sides with the best record across both this play-off game and the initial group phase will qualify directly for the finals. The side with the third-best record gets another reprieve, and will break off into a separate play-off system involving all of the continental confederations. 

Given Ireland have never qualified for a World Cup and missed the play-offs for next year’s European Championships, figuring out the machinations of this play-off system is a headache they would gladly embrace. 

Here’s how the seedings look. Ireland will be paired with one side from Pots one, two, four, and five, and may also be paired with a team from the smaller pot six, depending on how the draw plays out. 

Pot 1: Netherlands, Germany, England, France, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Italy, Denmark

Pot 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, Scotland, Russia, Finland, Portugal, Wales

Pot 3: Czech Republic, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland

Pot 4: Slovakia, Hungary, Belarus, Croatia, Greece, Albania, North Macedonia, Israel, Azerbaijan

Pot 5: Turkey, Malta, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Latvia

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Pot 6: Montenegro, Lithuania, Estonia, Luxembourg, Armenia, Bulgaria

The qualifiers are slated to begin in September. 

Qualifying group stage dates
13–21 September 2021
18–26 October 2021
22–30 November 2021
4–12 April 2022
29 August–6 September 2022

Uefa Play-Offs
3–11 October 2022

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