OLYMPICS: U.S. finds out its foes
April, 24, 2012
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty ImagesU.S. coach Pia Sundhage.
The U.S. women's national team was paired with familiar opposition in Tuesday's Olympic soccer draw. All three first-round foes were on the Americans' path to last year's Women's World Cup title game.
They were draw with WWC group foes Colombia and North Korea, plus France, which they beat in the semifinals.
“It’s always exciting to know who we will be playing,” U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage said in a U.S. Soccer statement following the draw at Wembley Stadium in suburban London. “We will start with an excellent opponent that we faced in the World Cup and that is a good thing. Once again, we will be facing teams with different playing styles and that is a challenge our team enjoys. When the draw happens, it energizes our players and brings even more of a focus to our team. We also have the chance to start scouting and preparing for what will be an entertaining and extremely competitive first round.”
The U.S., which heads Group G, opens July 25 against France and meets Colombia on July 28, both matches at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. The Americans wrap up the group stage July 31 against North Korea at Old Trafford, Manchester United's stadium.
The top two teams in each group and two best third-place teams advance to the Aug. 3 quarterfinals. The semifinals are Aug. 6, and the medal matches are Aug. 9, with gold determined at Wembley.
Mexico has one of four seeded men's teams and heads Group B, with South Korea, Gabon and Switzerland. Honduras, CONCACAF's other representative, is in Group D with Spain, Japan and Morocco. The men's tournament begins July 26, the top two in each group advance to the quarterfinals, and the gold-medal match, at Wembley, is Aug. 11.
Here is the result of the draw:
Group E: Great Britain, New Zealand, Cameroon, Brazil.
Group F: Japan, Canada, Sweden, South Africa.
Group G: United States, France, Colombia, North Korea,
Group A: Great Britain, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay.
Group B: Mexico, South Korea, Gabon, Switzerland.
Group C: Brazil, Egypt, Belarus, New Zealand.
Group D: Spain, Japan, Honduras, Morocco.