15 Sep 2008

Draw made for women's under 20 FIFA world cup

6:34 am on 15 September 2008

New Zealand have been grouped with England, Nigeria and hosts Chile for November's FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup.

By landing the hosts, the Junior Football Ferns have dodged a rematch with powerhouses Brazil and avoided top seeds USA, Germany and defending champions North Korea.

However, head coach John Herdman says initial relief with the draw was tempered by news of recent results with Chile beating both England and Norway.

The team will get an early chance to benchmark themselves against the World Cup hosts, when they compete in next week's Four Nations tournament in Santiago also involving fellow World Cup qualifiers Canada and Mexico.

For the three warm-ups, Herdman has named an 18-strong squad that features no fewer than nine players with senior international experience, including seven that featured at the 2007 Women's World Cup in China, and who six who returned with the New Zealand Olympic squad last month.

The balance of the squad is largely made up of U-17 players who will have at least one World Cup - the New Zealand hosted U-17 Women's World Cup in October/November - under their belt should they make Herdman's final World Cup squad in October.