Korea draws host France at Women’s World Cup

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Korea draws host France at Women’s World Cup

Korea will play in the opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, having been drawn with the tournament’s host, France.

Korea - ranked 14th in the latest FIFA rankings - was placed in Group A with France, Norway and Nigeria for the top women’s football tournament at the draw ceremony held in Paris on Saturday.

The Taegeuk Ladies will face France - third in the FIFA rankings - for the opening match at Parc des Princes in Paris on June 7, according to the tournament schedule. They will then take on Nigeria - ranked 39th - at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble on June 12 and wrap up their group stage campaign against Norway - ranked 14th - at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims on June 17.

South Korea’s head coach, Yoon Deok-yeo, said his team is not in an easy group, emphasizing that the first match against France will be critical.

“France will have the home field advantage and will get lots of fan support because it’s the opening match of the tournament,” Yoon said. “The result of the first match will influence our next two matches, so it will be critical for us in making it out of the group stage.”

The Korean team is in its third Women’s World Cup after making appearances in 2003 and 2015. Yoon’s team reached the round of 16 at the 2015 tournament in Canada, but fell to France 3-0. In 2003, Korea suffered a 1-0 loss to France in the group stage. Korea also has two losses against Norway. They lost 7-1 to Norway, the 1995 World Cup champions, at the 2003 tournament in the United States, and were blanked 2-0 at a friendly match in 2013.

South Korean women have yet to face Nigeria, who will be making their eighth World Cup appearance in France. “Our second group stage match against Nigeria is a very important match for us to get two points,” Yoon said. “We must give our all against Nigeria and then do our best against Norway.”

For the 2019 Women’s World Cup, 24 teams were divided into six groups of four. The top two teams of each group and the four best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16. The tournament final will be held on July 7, 2019.

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