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Australia well-placed to avoid favourites in Women's World Cup draw

ESPN's Julie Foudy shares her thoughts on Mexico's World Cup qualifying failure and the dominant form displayed by the U.S. women's national team.

Alen Stajcic will lead an Australian contingent to Paris next week to learn the Matildas' World Cup fate in Saturday's draw.

Save for a last-minute switch, Australia will avoid tournament favourites United States, Germany, England, Canada and hosts France in the group stage.

The Matildas have reached the draw as one of the world's top six ranked nations and have earned a place in the seeded pot.

The 24 nations to compete for the biggest prize in women's sport were confirmed this weekend.

New Zealand booked their place with an 8-0 rout over Fiji in the Oceania Nations Cup final on Saturday.

Cameroon did it tougher, forfeiting a two-goal lead before triumphing 4-2 over Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations third-place playoff, joining champions Nigeria and runners-up South Africa.

All four are possibilities to face the Matildas.

The final pots will be confirmed this week; with a small possibility FIFA will repeat a 2015 move and tinker with the top seedings.

Then, Sweden were denied top billing in favour of Brazil, resulting in heavyweights U.S. and the fifth-ranked Swedes joining Australia in a group of death; a move that cruelled the Matildas' chances of further progression in Canada.

After receiving assurances from FIFA, Australia anticipate being in the top pot. Stajcic said it won't matter as much anyway.

The Matildas celebrate Samantha Kerr's goal.
The Matildas will learn their Women's World Cup group fate at next Saturday's draw in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

"The differences between the top and the bottom teams have been reduced significantly," he told AAP.

"I thought that in 2015 and now, even more. Our team is evidence of that.

"We can draw with and beat America but we've have close matches with Thailand, Portugal and Chile, who are all ranked in the 30s and 40s."

Stajcic said his long-stated desire of heading to the draw in the top six was more of a motivational tool.

"I really hammed that up with our group, setting a goal of being in the top three," he said.

"Then we started talking about the importance of the top pot.

"I really do believe it's irrelevant which pot we'll be in as the second pot has some world class teams in Norway, Sweden, Japan, Brazil: that's the second pot.

"U.S.A., Germany and France are favourites but I think six or eight teams can win it and the pleasing thing is we're one of the six or eight."

The pots and ramifications will be confirmed this week.

Australia already know they will face at least one European nation in the group stage, most likely two, and will avoid Asian opposition.

ALL 24 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP 2019 QUALIFIERS:

CAF: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa
AFC: Australia, China PR, Japan, Korea Republic, Thailand
UEFA: England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden
CONCACAF: Canada, Jamaica, United States
OFC: New Zealand
CONMEBOL: Argentina, Brazil, Chile

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