FIFA sets Canada '14 dates

[UNDER-20 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] In just about a year, the next edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will kick off in Canada, more than a decade after it hosted the first such competition for younger players.

As per the match schedule released Tuesday, the host nation will open the tournament against an opponent to be named Aug. 5 in Toronto at the National Soccer Stadium (a.k.a. BMO Field). Stadiums in Edmonton, Montreal and Moncton (New Brunswick) will also host matches of the 16-team, 32-game tournament that concludes Aug. 24 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. The four cities will host at least six matches apiece, and ticket sales for the event will commence in November.

“The announcement of the match schedule is an important moment on the road to the final tournament as the host cities now know the number of games they will host,” said Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s Deputy Director of Competitions for Women’s Football. “And the fans can already save the dates and in November will be able to finally buy their tickets for the matches.”

Host Canada will be joined by 15 nations: four from Europe, three each from Asia and Concacaf, two each from South America and Africa, and one from Oceania. Qualifying play concludes in late January; the date of the draw has not been finalized. Concacaf qualifiers will be played in the Cayman Islands Jan. 9-19.

Canada hosted the first world youth tournament for women, an under-19 competition with 12 teams, in 2002 and lost to the USA, 1-0, in the final. The format was changed to a U-20 competition for the third edition hosted by Russia in 2006. The Americans lead with three titles at this level. Germany has won the competition twice.

Canada failed to advance out of group play at the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup hosted by Japan and won by the United States. Kealia Ohai scored the only goal as the Americans beat then-defending champion Germany, 1-0, in the final.
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