Lionesses handed tough Euro 2025 qualification group as France, Sweden and Ireland lie in wait

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The Lionesses have been handed a tough draw as they bid to qualify for Euro 2025 and retain their crown.

England have been drawn in Group A3 alongside France, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

France are currently third in the world rankings, with England one place behind them and Sweden in fifth.

The Lionesses must finish in the top two of their group if they are to guarantee a place at Euro 2025 next summer in Switzerland. If Sarina Wiegman’s side fail to do that, they will have to qualify via the play-offs.

The qualification matches will take place between April and July this year. A total of 16 teams will compete at Euro 2025, with Switzerland already secured a spot as hosts.

The top two teams from the four League A groups will automatically qualify, with a further seven places available via the play-offs.

England were seeded in pot two for Tuesday’s draw due to their performance in the Nations League, where they came second in their group behind Netherlands.

They will have been relieved to have avoided world champions Spain in the qualifying draw, but their group still looks the toughest of those on paper.

England, France and Sweden all made the semi-finals of Euro 2022, which the Lionesses won after beating Germany in the final.

Wiegman’s side will kick off their bid to defend that crown with two qualifiers next month.

Elsewhere, Scotland will face Serbia, Slovakia and Israel in Group B2, while Northern Ireland are alongside Portugal, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Malta in Group B3.

Wales have been drawn against Croatia, Ukraine and Kosovo in Group B4.