NYON: Champions England were handed a tough group including France and Sweden in their Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying campaign following the draw held in Nyon, Switzerland on Tuesday.

France lost the Nations League final to Spain last month but qualified for this year’s Olympics in Paris and are ranked number three in the world, with England at four and Sweden five. The Euros qualifying campaign begins in April.

Manager Sarina Wiegman said: “Of course, we all went into the draw knowing that Sweden, one of the top countries, would be in Pot 3 because of their Nations League performance in 2023. So with France, Sweden, and Ireland in our group, it will be very competitive. It’s exciting and now we just have to show up and perform. For the fans and for football, it is really good because it will be so competitive.”

World champions Spain will take on Denmark, Belgium and Czech Republic in Group A2, while Germany, eight-times European champions and runners-up in 2022, face Austria, Iceland and Poland in Group A4.

France will begin their Olympic adventure in July, but will need to put that to one side for now.

Coach Herve Renard said: “It’s a big challenge for us to try to qualify before the start of the Olympic Games.

“Qualifying for Euro 2025 is obviously a major goal of our season and we can’t wait to start this campaign in less than a month.”

England thrashed Sweden in the semi-finals on their way to winning Euro 2022. The Swedes also lost at the semi-final stage at last year’s World Cup, going down 2-1 to eventual champions Spain.

Ireland are also in qualifying Group A3, their promotion from League B in the Nations League placing them in League A for the qualifiers, and they could hardly have asked for a tougher group.

The top two in each League A group qualify for the finals in July 2025 alongside hosts Switzerland, who compete in League B although their automatic qualification is assured. The remaining seven spots will be decided by two rounds of playoffs.

The draw

League A
Group A1: Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Finland
Group A2: Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic
Group A3: France, England, Sweden, Ireland
Group A4: Germany, Austria, Iceland, Poland
League B
Group B1: Switzerland, Hungary, Turkey, Azerbaijan
Group B2: Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Israel
Group B3: Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Malta
Group B4: Wales, Croatia, Ukraine, Kosovo
League C
Group C1: Belarus, Lithuania, Cyprus, Georgia
Group C2: Slovenia, Latvia, North Macedonia, Moldova
Group C3: Greece, Montenegro, Andorra, Faroe Islands
Group C4: Romania, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Armenia
Group C5: Albania, Estonia, Luxembourg
Matchdays 1-2: April 3-9, 2024
Matchdays 3-4: May 29-June 4, 2024
Matchdays 5-6: July 10-16, 2024
Round 1: Oct. 23-29 2024
Round 2: Nov. 27-Dec. 3 2024