Newsdesk - FIFA Draw for U-20 World Cup; Praise for Russia 2018
June 4, 2012
The draw took place in Tokyo today (FIFA)
(WFI) Japan will play Mexico in the first match of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan.
Today's draw in Tokyo was presided over by Tatjana Haenni, FIFA's head of women's competitions, and carried out by four stars of Japan's 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup champions.
The 32-match, 21-day tournament will be held in five venues - Hiroshima, Kobe, Miyagi, Saitama and Tokyo.
The 16 teams are split into four groups.
Group A: Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, New Zealand
Group B: Brazil, Korea Republic, Italy, Nigeria
Group C: Korea DPR, Canada, Norway, Argentina
Group D: USA, China PR, Germany, Ghana
The official slogan of the Aug. 19 to Sept. 8 tournament, “Hope Leads”, was also unveiled today.
It was jointly developed by FIFA and the organising committee to help deliver a message of hope through football and the youth of Japan following last year’s devastating earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 15,000 people.
FIFA's Russia 2018 Experts Visit Sochi
FIFA inspectors evaluating Russia's 2018 World Cup preparations have praised progress in Sochi, the latest stop on their tour of potential host cities.
The Black Sea resort's 2014 Winter Olympics stadium is set to be converted into a football venue for the FIFA showpiece.
The delegation visited the construction site of the Fisht stadium, named in honour of the westernmost peak in the Caucasus mountains. When it is finished next year, the arena and its contours will resemble the peak itself.
After the 2014 Games, if Sochi figures in the final list of host cities for Russia 2018, stands will be added to the northern and southern sides of the stadium, increasing its capacity to 45,000.
FIFA experts also examined transport infrastructure plans, accommodations and plans to organise a fan festival and to screen matches on giant screens in the Olympic Park, which can accommodate up to 80,000 visitors.
FIFA's inspection was postponed from April
Sochi 2014's Winter Olympics stadium will be converted into a venue for the 2018 World Cup (Getty)
when a plane carrying officials was unable to land at Sochi international airport due to heavy fog.
“Our visit to Sochi left a positive impression on us," said Jurgen Muller, FIFA’s head of department for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
"The climate is nice and the people are hospitable. It’s important to point out that we were assured that Sochi will overcome any difficulties it may experience as it prepares for the World Cup."
Russia 2018 CEO Alexey Sorokin said: "It’s pleasing that the contours of the stadium in Sochi are already clearly visible. That dispels a whole host of concerns to do with the construction."
During FIFA's visit, reassurances were given that Sochi could cope with preparations for the Winter Olympics and World Cup. It is also scheduled to stage a Formula One grand prix in 2014.
“Our view is that Sochi is currently Russia’s best resort, and our aim is to become the country’s main sporting capital. At the moment we’re paying a great deal of attention to winter sports as part of preparations for the Olympics. Now the time has come to pay attention to summer sports as well,” said Sochi’s deputy mayor Yury Rykov.
“We have the right set-up for that here, we have professionals in the field who really love their football. Sochi is ready to rise to any challenge, and we hope that FIFA will decide to award the most entertaining matches to our city.”
The final stage of FIFA's inspection tour, which will help to identify the host cities for Russia 2018, will take place between June 18 and 22, when the delegation will visit Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Samara and Volgograd.
The final list of host cities will be announced by FIFA in September.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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