Within minutes of learning her team’s path at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Canada coach Bev Priestman was looking deep into the draw.
The seventh-ranked Canadians avoided some of the tournament heavyweights in being drawn with co-host Australia, Ireland and Nigeria in Group B.
Australia, at No. 13, was the second-lowest-ranked team the Olympic champion Canadians could have faced out of Pot 1. Only co-host New Zealand, at No. 22, had a lower ranking in the pot containing the co-hosts and top seeds.
And Priestman’s team is familiar with Australia and No. 45 Nigeria, having played both twice this year. Ireland, ranked 24th, will be making its World Cup debut.
“I’m excited,” Priestman, speaking from Auckland, said of Saturday’s draw. “It could be worse, it could be better.
The top two in each pool will advance to the round of 16 with the Group B winner facing the runner-up in Group D and…