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Draw Procedures Set for 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup

WUHAN, China (April 21, 2007) – FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, has set the procedures for the Final Draw for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, being held at the at the Guanggu Science and Technology Exhibition Centre in Wuhan on Sunday, April 22 at 6:45 p.m. local / 6:45 a.m. ET. The four seeded teams are host China, defending Women’s World Cup champions Germany, current world number-one United States, and Norway, currently third in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings.

As China has already been allocated to Group D and Germany has been allocated to Group A, the USA will be drawn into either Group B (based in Chengdu) or Group C (based in Hangzhou).

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan and team captain Kristine Lilly are in Wuhan for the draw. Reaction from Ryan and Lilly, as well as other U.S. players, on the USA’s draw will be available on on Sunday morning. Lilly played with the FIFA World Stars on Saturday, April 21, in an exhibition match against host China that was part of the pre-Draw festivities. Wearing the captain’s band, Lilly played the entire second half as China edged the World Stars, 3-2, on a late goal from Ji Ting at the Wuhan Sports Center Stadium, venue for six Women’s World Cup matches.

The 16 teams in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be drawn into four groups of four teams each, with the top two finishers in each of the group advancing to the quarterfinal stage, at which time the tournament becomes a knockout competition. With the exception of Europe, which has five teams in the tournament, no countries from the same Confederation will be drawn together into the same first-round group. All teams will play their first and second matches of group play in the venue to which their Group is assigned, then all teams will travel for their third (and final) first-round match.

The Final Draw procedures are as follows. The teams have been placed into the following five “pots” from which they will be drawn into the four groups.

Pot 1 (World ranking in parentheses)
China (11)
Germany (2)
USA (1)
Norway (3)

Pot 2
North Korea (5)
Japan (9)
Australia (14)

Pot 3
Sweden (4)
Denmark (6)
England (12)

Pot 4
Nigeria (24)
Ghana (48)
Argentina (32)
New Zealand (23)

Pot X
Brazil (8)
Canada (10)

• As teams from the same Confederation cannot be drawn into the same first-round Group (with the exception of Europe) if a team from a Confederation is drawn into a Group already containing a team from that same Confederation, it will be moved from left to right - i.e. Group A to Group B - until it is in an appropriate group.
• The Final Draw will start with Pot X, as Brazil and Canada will be randomly drawn into Pot 2 or Pot 3, making four teams in each of those Pots.
• Pot 1 will then be emptied, with China allocated to Group D and Germany allocated to Group A. The USA and Norway will then be randomly drawn to see which country goes into Group B and which goes in Group C. Then numbers will be drawn to see which position in the Group they go into, which determines the order of opponents within the Group.
• Numbers will be drawn after each country is pulled out of its respective Pot, to determine the order in the Group, and thus, the order of opponents in the first round.
• Pot 2 will then be emptied, but FIFA has determined that North Korea will be allocated to Group B. 
• The countries from Asia, and either Brazil or Canada, will then be drawn into the other three Groups (A, C and D) as those Groups will not contain an Asian team.
• The remaining non-Asian team in Pot 2 (Brazil or Canada) will then be placed into the Group with the Asian team (North Korea in Group B). If Canada is drawn into Pot 2, it cannot go in the same Group as the USA.
• Pot 3 will then be emptied, with only one group being allowed to contain two European teams.
• If Canada is drawn into Pot 3, they cannot be in the same Group as the USA.
• Pot 4 will then be emptied, but Argentina cannot be drawn into the same Group as Brazil.

The USA has drawn difficult first-round groups in the past two Women’s World Cup tournaments, playing Nigeria and North Korea in both 1999 and 2003. In 1999, the USA opened the tournament with Denmark and in 2003, the USA opened vs. Sweden, which eventually made it to the Final.

More than 800 people will be attending the Final Draw ceremony, which will fuse Chinese culture and international style. The show will feature bianzhong, a traditional Chinese percussion instrument also known as a bell set, as well as acrobats for which the city of Wuhan is renowned. The official song of the FIFA Women’s World Cup will also be performed live.

The Draw in Wuhan, the largest city in central China, will be conducted by FIFA Director of Competitions Jim Brown and FIFA’s head of women’s football, Tatjana Haenni, with the help of four well-known assistants in women’s soccer: China’s Sun Wen (winner of the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe at the 1999 Women’s World Cup), Tina Theune-Meyer (who coached Germany to the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup title), Chinese goalkeeper Gao Hong (who played in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup) and Tian Zhen (a Chinese singer, best known for her song Steel Roses, dedicated to the Chinese women’s national team).

The 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be staged from Sept. 10-30, 2007, in five Chinese cities: Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Wuhan. Four of the venues are in the eastern part of China, and the fifth, Chengdu, is in central China. Tianjin is the northernmost venue and is approximately 125 miles southeast of Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympic Games. The Opening Match and Women’s World Cup Final will both be played in Shanghai at the Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium.

This will be the fifth Women’s World Cup staged by FIFA and the second by People’s Republic of China, which also hosted the inaugural tournament in 1991.

For the first time in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, bonuses (totaling USD $6 million) will be paid to the teams according to their finish in the tournament.

Champions: USD $1 Million
Runner-Up: USD $800,000
Third Place: USD $650,000
Fourth Place: USD $550,000
Quarter-Finalists: USD $350,000
Ninth-Sixteenth: USD $200,000

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Venues and Stadiums
City - Stadium (# of Matches)
Wuhan - Wuhan Sports Center Stadium (4 first-round matches, 2 quarterfinal matches)
Chengdu - Chengdu Sports Center Stadium (6 first-round matches)
Shanghai - Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium (6 first-round matches, 3rd Place Match and Championship)
Hangzhou - Zhejiang Dragon Stadium (6 first-round matches, 1 semifinal match)
Tianjin - Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium (2 first-round matches, 2 quarterfinal matches and 1 semifinal match)

Group A will be based in Shanghai
Group B will be based in Chengdu
Group C will be based in Hangzhou
Group D will be based in Wuhan