Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni says his side's draw for the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup is tough but they will be ready for the challenge.
Fifa confirmed the draw for the biggest women's sporting event in the world at a glitzy affair yesterday staged at the La Seine Musicale in Paris. The Football Ferns will meet European champions the Netherlands, world No 7 Canada and Cameroon in the June-July tournament in France.
"As expected, it's a tough draw. It's a World Cup and when you are in the third pot, you're going to get some tough opposition," said Sermanni, named Ferns coach in October.
"But it's not an insurmountable draw. They are three teams we can be very competitive against, and on the right day, we can get a result against them. It's probably as good a draw as we could have expected."
The Ferns will probably feel a little deja vu in France as the draw mirrors two of the opponents they faced in Canada four years ago. They went down 1-0 to the Netherlands and drew 0-0 with Canada (missing a penalty) and 2-2 with China at the 2015 World Cup.
"Our girls will take confidence from that tournament. They will feel they can go out against these teams and get a result. The key thing for me is getting the team prepared the best we can, get our tactics and selections right, and we do everything possible so as soon as we enter the field on the first day of competition of the World Cup, we are ready to go."
It is the first time France will host the World Cup and the third time for a European nation. France are in Group A with South Korea, Norway and Nigeria.
The United States are defending champions and the most successful team in the tournament's history with three titles. They have been drawn in Group F with Thailand, Chile and Sweden.
Group D shapes as one of the toughest, with England, Scotland, Argentina and Japan.
In Group E, the Football Ferns will aim to win their first World Cup game, having drawn three and lost nine of their 12 matches spread across four tournaments to date.
And given this World Cup features 24 nations, meaning four third-placed teams make the last 16, one win may be enough to qualify the Ferns for the knockout rounds for the first time.
Cameroon appeal as the likeliest victims. New Zealand beat Cameroon 3-1 at the 2012 Olympics, which was enough to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 12-team tournament.
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup draw – Football Ferns games (NZT)
12 June, 1am
16 June, 7am
21 June, 4am
Group A: France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
Group B: Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
Group F: United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden