Portugal, Panama and Haiti have secured their place at the 2023 Women's World Cup as three of eight tournament debutants.

The tournament, which has been expanded to 32 teams, will be held in Australia and New Zealand in July and August.

Panama beat Paraguay 1-0 at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium on Thursday to confirm their place, while Portugal overcame Cameroon 2-1 at the same venue.

Haiti, meanwhile, defeated Chile 2-1 in Auckland.

The three nations, along with Morocco, Vietnam, Zambia, the Republic of Ireland and the Philippines are set to play in a Women's World Cup for the first time.

Indeed, Panama, Portugal and Vietnam had never previously qualified for a FIFA women's competition, while Morocco – whose men's team enjoyed a stunning run to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar last year – became the first-ever Arab nation to be represented in FIFA's flagship women's tournament.

Haiti have been placed in Group D alongside China, Denmark, who are making their first World Cup appearance since 2007, and European champions England.

The matches in that pool will be played in Australia, as they will be in Group F, with Panama set to face Jamaica along with heavyweights Brazil and France.

Portugal will go up against Vietnam, the Netherlands and two-time reigning champions the United States in Group E, which will be played out in New Zealand.

Co-hosts New Zealand take on Norway in Auckland in the tournament's opening game on July 20.

Racing Louisville defender Satara Murray will be in the line-up for the Reggae Girlz in their crucial Concacaf Women’s Championship final round fixture against Haiti after being cleared to represent the Caribbean side on Monday by FIFA.

Haiti and Jamaica are currently second and third in Group A and Monday’s match, scheduled to begin at 9:00 pm Jamaica time (10:00 pm EST) at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer will determine who joins the USA as automatic qualifiers to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The 29-year-old Murray, who can play as either a right-back or a centre-back, is expected to replace Denisha Blackwood in the Reggae Girlz line-up who is out due to suspension because of an accumulation of yellow cards.

“I’m relieved, happy and blessed to be involved with the game today and I’m thankful and excited to see what we can do. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said Murray in a pre-match interview.

“I’m excited to be out there with the girls tonight and get the job done. That’s why I came here. I came to this camp to help us qualify for a World Cup and that’s what I want to do. I want to be a part of that,” said the former Liverpool defender.

“Leadership and my physical presence,” were her responses when asked what she hopes to bring to the team.

“I’m hoping those can help us win tonight because Haiti is a physical team and that’s one of my best attributes,” she added.


Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson says his team simply wasn’t good enough in their 0-5 hammering by defending World Champions the USA in the Concacaf Women’s Championship on Thursday.

The Americans sprinted out to a 2-0 lead through goals from Sophia Smith in the fifth and eighth minutes before adding three more goals in the second half through Rose Lavelle (59th), Kristie Mewis (83rd) and Trinity Rodman (86th) to complete the 5-0 demolition at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.

“I didn’t think it’d take 10 minutes. We gave up two goals in six minutes and you’re not going to play the World Champs and expect anything out of the game playing the way we did. We weren’t good,” Donaldson said in a post-match press conference.

“The Americans are the best team in the world. When you play the champions at the top of their game, bad things will happen if you don’t play well and we didn’t,” Donaldson added.

The Reggae Girlz are now third in Group A with three points after two games with their third and final preliminary encounter coming against Haiti on Monday.

The Haitians also have three points and will go into that game with supreme confidence after a convincing 3-0 win over Mexico on Thursday.

The winner of Monday’s match will join the USA as automatic qualifiers to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand while the loser will most likely have to book their spot through an inter-continental playoff.

“I think we’re going to be fine and ready,” Donaldson said.

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