My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway, but how did all the teams qualify?
Qualified Teams: Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire and Nigeria.
For this year’s tournament, three African sides qualified – up from two in 2011. The qualification was decided at the 2014 African Women’s Championship which was hosted by Namibia. The cost though of hosting the tournament meant that the Namibian domestic league was suspended during 2014.
26 countries entered the qualification process, with 8 sides reaching the 2014 African Women’s Championship. The Championship started with two groups of four in a round-robin format, with the top two sides in both groups qualifying for the Semi-Finals.
Nigeria and Cameroon won their Semi-Finals to qualify for the World Cup, whilst Côte D’Ivoire and South Africa played a Third-Placed Play-off to decide the final spot. Côte D’Ivoire won 1-0.
Both Cameroon and Côte D’Ivoire are making their World Cup debuts.
Qualified Teams: Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand
Five Asian countries qualified for the World Cup, up from three in 2011.
World Cup Qualification was decided at the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, for which 20 countries tried to get the eight places. Due to their performance in the 2010 edition: Australia, China, Japan and South Korea automatically qualified. Despite Vietnam being made as hosts, they still had to qualify for it with new hosts being selected if they had failed. North Korea, who are ranked 9th in the World, were banned from the tournament due to doping offences in the 2011 World Cup.
The Asian Cup starts with two groups of four, with the top two sides in each group qualifying directly to the World Cup. The two third-placed countries participated in a play-off for the final spot, with Thailand beating Vietnam 2-1 to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.
The tournament was won by the 2011 World Cup Champions Japan who beat Australia 1-0.
Qualified Teams: England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
There are eight European countries at this year’s World Cup, unlike in 2011 where 4.5 countries plus the hosts Germany qualified. (The 0.5 team had to face a UEFA-CONCACAF play-off.)
UEFA is the only confederation to have a dedicated qualifying tournament for the World Cup. It begins with a preliminary round, made up of the eight lowest ranked sides. They play in two groups of four, with the group winners and runners-up reaching the main stage.
The main stage consists of seven groups of six teams, with the group winners qualifying for the World Cup. The four best runners-up (Italy, Netherlands, Scotland and Ukraine) competed in the play-offs for the final spot. After beating Scotland in the Semi-Finals, and Italy in the Final – Netherlands qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever.
Spain and Switzerland are also making their World Cup debuts.
North America, Central America and Caribbean
Qualified Teams: Canada (as hosts), Mexico and USA
One extra country qualified from this region, from 2.5 to 3.5 (although this included the hosts Canada).
28 countries tried to qualify for the World Cup for the 3 or 4 places through the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Mexico and USA qualified directly, whilst the Central American and Caribbean sections had their own qualification process – including the first ever Women’s Caribbean Cup.
Martinique qualified for the CONCACAF Women’s Championship but were not allowed to qualify for the World Cup as they are not an FIFA member. Eight teams were split into two groups, with the group winners and runners-up qualifying for the semi-finals.
USA and Costa Rica reached the Final which USA won 6-0, whilst Mexico beat Trinidad & Tobago in the 3rd Placed Play-off to seal the final guaranteed spot to the World Cup. Trinidad & Tobago then faced a play-off with the 3rd placed side in the 2014 Copa América Feminina.
This will be the first time that Costa Rica has competed in the World Cup.
Qualified Team: New Zealand
Only four countries tried to qualify for the only spot available in the World Cup, with the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga playing in the 2014 OFC Women’s Nations Cup. They played a round-robin format, with New Zealand winning with a 100% record, scoring 30 goals without conceding.
Oceania was also the only confederation not to have increased representation.
Qualified Teams: Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.
For the first time, the South American countries had a third opportunity to qualify through the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL play-off.
The South American countries qualify for the World Cup through the 2014 Copa América Feminina. The ten countries first play in the First Stage Groups: two groups of five countries, with the top two in both groups reaching the Second Stage.
The Second Stage is a round-robin format, with the top two sides automatically qualifying for the World Cup. Brazil won the tournament for the sixth time, whilst Colombia finished as runners-up.
Third placed Ecuador had to play Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL Play-Off, which they won 1-0 over two legs to reach the World Cup for the first time.