Northern Ireland's women handed tough World Cup group

Rachel Furness
Rachel Furness

Northern Ireland's women have been handed a tough qualifying group for the 2015 World Cup finals.

With only the group winners earning automatic qualification, the opposition includes world-ranked sixth team Sweden and 21st-ranked Scotland.

The 55th-rated Northern Irish, will also face 31st-ranked Poland plus the Faroes Islands (72) and Bosnia (82).

The four best second-placed teams in the seven groups will also play off for the final European qualification berth.

Northern Ireland finished fourth in the qualification group for this year's European Championship after delivering some decent performances.

That campaign included a win over former world champions Norway and two victories over Bulgaria while the Irish also managed draws against Hungary and Belgium.

The Republic of Ireland will also face a tough qualification campaign with the opposition including world number two ranked side Germany plus 22nd-ranked Russia.

The Republic, who are 32nd in the latest Fifa rankings, will also be up against Slovakia (44), Slovenia (60) and Croatia (63).

The qualifiers will be played from 20/21 September 2013 to 17 September 2014 with the finals taking place in Canada in the summer of 2015.

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