Women's World Cup '99: Schedule and pairings set in preparation for Feb. 14 draw

FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, has given final approval on the schedule for the 1999 Women's World Cup, determining the first-round and knockout round match-ups of the third world championship for women's soccer. The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final draw, to be held at halftime of the FIFA World Stars vs. the U.S. women's national team match on Feb. 14 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif., will place the 16 teams into four groups (A, B, C and D) of four teams each (1, 2, 3 and 4), determining the complete schedule for the tournament. The top-seeded teams are defending champion Norway, China, Germany and the USA. To ensure the quality of the competition and the safety of the athletes, FIFA has preliminarily approved increasing the roster size from 20 to 22 players. The 1996 Olympic rosters featured just 16 players. The 16 teams of the 1999 Women's World Cup will have an average of 2.5 rest days between first-round games, compared to the single day of rest between first-round matches at the 1995 Women's World Cup and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Each team will travel after every match, giving fans across the country a chance to see several of the world's finest teams and athletes in their cities. There will be three rest days between the final first-round games and the quarterfinals, and two-to-three days between the quarterfinals and the semifinals. However, the teams that face each other in the knockout rounds will always be playing on the same number of days rest. The nations that advance to the Final Game will have a full five days of rest between their semifinal matches and the July 10 championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The teams that advance to the Final Game and Third Place Match doubleheader will play six matches in 22 days. By comparison, at the first Women's World Cup in China, the teams that advanced to the Final played six games in 15 days. At the 1995 Women's World Cup in Sweden, the top four finishers played six games in 14 days. At the 1996 Olympics, the gold medal game participants played five matches in just 12 days. "The extended three-week 1999 Women's World Cup will be the most athlete-friendly Women's World Cup ever," said Per Omdal, Chairman of the FIFA Committee for Women's Football. "The increased number of rest days will allow for the highest level of performance and excitement throughout the tournament from the marquee teams and players." All 32 games will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, with 26 games shown live and six matches shown on tape-delay with short turnarounds. ABC will broadcast the opening game featuring the USA and the Final Game from the Rose Bowl. ESPN will show nine matches with the remaining 21 games on espn2. The order of the games within a doubleheader are still subject to change according to television and marketing preference. All matches will be played as doubleheaders, including the two semifinal matches, which will be played in conjunction with Major League Soccer games. Here is a look at the schedule. The USA will be team A1. All times are eastern. FIRST ROUND
Date Matchup Kickoff (ET) Venue Network (live/tape)
June 19 A1 vs. A4 3:00 p.m. Giants Stadium ABC (live)
June 19 B2 vs. B3 5:30 p.m. Giants Stadium ESPN (live)
June 19 C2 vs. C3 8:00 p.m. Spartan Stadium espn2 (live)
June 19 D1 vs. D4 10:30 p.m. Spartan Stadium espn2 (live)
June 20 C1 vs. C4 1:30 p.m. Foxboro Stadium ESPN (live)
June 20 D2 vs. D3 4:00 p.m. Foxboro Stadium espn2 (live)
June 20 B1 Vs. B4 7:00 p.m. Rose Bowl espn2 (live)
June 20 A2 vs. A3 9:30 p.m. Rose Bowl espn2 (live)
June 23 C1 vs. C3 6:00 p.m. J.K. Cooke Stadium espn2 (live)
June 23 D2 vs. D4 8:30 p.m. J.K. Cooke Stadium espn2 (live)
June 23 D1 vs. D3 9:00 p.m. Civic Stadium espn2 (tape, 10:30 p.m.)
June 23 C2 vs. C4 11:30 p.m. Civic Stadium espn2 (tape, 12:30 a.m.)
June 24 B2 vs. B4 6:00 p.m. Soldier Field espn2 (live)
June 24 A1 vs. A3 8:30 p.m. Soldier Field ESPN (live)
June 24 B1 vs. B3 9:00 p.m. Civic Stadium espn2 (tape, 10:30 p.m.)
June 24 A2 vs. A4 11:30 p.m. Civic Stadium ESPN (tape, 12:30 a.m.)
June 26 C3 vs. C4 12:00 p.m. Giants Stadium ESPN (live)
June 26 D1 vs. D2 2:30 p.m. Giants Stadium ESPN (live)
June 26 D3 vs. D4 5:00 p.m. Soldier Field espn2 (live)
June 26 C1 vs. C2 7:30 p.m. Soldier Field espn2 (live)
June 27 A3 vs. A4 1:30 p.m. J.K. Cooke Stadium espn2 (live)
June 27 B1 vs. B2 4:00 p.m. J.K. Cooke Stadium espn2 (live)
June 27 B3 vs. B4 4:30 p.m. Foxboro Stadium espn2 (tape, 12:30 a.m.)
June 27 A1 vs. A2 7:00 p.m. Foxboro Stadium espn2 (live)
QUARTERFINALS
Date Matchup Kickoff (ET) Venue Network (live/tape)
June 30 Winner D vs. Runner-Up C (1) 8:00 p.m. Spartan Stadium espn2 (live)
June 30 Winner C vs. Runner-Up D (2) 10:30 p.m. Spartan Stadium espn2 (tape, 12:00 a.m.)
July 1 Winner A vs. Runner-Up B (3) 7:00 p.m. J.K. Cooke Stadium ESPN (live)
July 1 Winner B vs. Runner-Up A (4) 9:30 p.m. J.K. Cooke Stadium espn2 (live)
SEMIFINALS
Date Matchup Kickoff (ET) Venue Network (live/tape)
July 4 Winner 3 vs. Winner 4 4:30 p.m. Stanford Stadium ESPN (live)
July 4 Winner 1 vs. Winner 2 7:30 p.m. Foxboro Stadium espn2 (live)
THIRD-PLACE MATCH
Date Matchup Kickoff (ET) Venue Network (live/tape)
July 10 Semifinal losers 1:30 p.m. Rose Bowl ESPN (live)
CHAMPIONSHIP
Date Matchup Kickoff (ET) Venue Network (live/tape)
July 10 Semifinal winners 4:00 p.m. Rose Bowl ABC (live)
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