FIFA makes 10-team playoff draw for Women’s World Cup

ZURICH (AP) — Portugal will have to beat Thailand or Cameroon to advance to its first Women’s World Cup tournament next year.

Portugal, which was the highest-ranked nation at No. 23 in Friday’s 10-team intercontinental playoff draw, was put into the pot despite beating Iceland in this week’s European playoffs.

Three World Cup places are up for grabs to the 10 teams in the playoffs. The matches will be played in New Zealand from Feb. 18-23.

In a separate bracket, Haiti was drawn to face Senegal, with the winner advancing to face Chile.

Haiti is also aiming for its first World Cup appearance after years of turmoil and investigations of sexual abuse of female players on the Caribbean island. FIFA banned the long-time Haitian soccer federation president for life in 2020.

The third playoff bracket paired Taiwan with Paraguay and Papua New Guinea with Panama. The winners of the those games will meet on Feb. 23 with a place in the final tournament at stake.

New Zealand and Australia will host the expanded 32-team Women’s World Cup from July 20-Aug. 20.

The draw for the tournament will be held on Oct. 22 in Auckland with only 29 of the 32 places confirmed.

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