European women's soccer champ England draws France and Sweden in tough Euro 2025 qualifying group

Tue, Mar 5, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

European women's soccer champ England draws France and Sweden in tough Euro 2025 qualifying group

NYON, Switzerland (AP) - Titleholder England landed in a tough group with France, Sweden and Ireland in the qualifying draw for the 2025 Women's European Championship on Tuesday.

England went from winning Euro 2022 as the host country to reaching the World Cup final last year where Sweden was a semifinalist and France reached the quarterfinals.

World champion Spain was drawn in a Euro 2025 qualifying group with Denmark, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Spain also won the Women's Nations League last week.

Germany, the beaten finalist at Euro 2022, will play Austria, Iceland and Poland in qualifying groups that start in four weeks and finish in July.

Netherlands was pooled with Italy, Norway and Finland in the other group in the top-tier section comprising of 16 high-ranked teams.

The top two teams in each top-tier group will advance to the 16-team finals tournament hosted by Switzerland in July next year. Those eight teams are the only ones that will qualify direct from the groups.

Seven more qualifiers will come through two rounds of playoff games scheduled from Oct. 23 to Dec. 3.

In the second-tier groups drawn Tuesday, Euro 2025 host Switzerland was drawn in a group with Hungary, Turkey and Azerbaijan though its place at the finals is assured.

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Scotland was top seeded in a group with Serbia and Slovakia which then could not accept Serbia's neighbor Kosovo, which was drawn next, for political and security reasons. Kosovo was moved instead to a group with Wales, Croatia and Ukraine.

Five groups of third-tier teams were drawn, and eight of those teams will advance from the group standings to the playoffs.

Euro 2025 is played from July 2-25 next year in eight Swiss cities.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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