We now know when we will be able to watch Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz and the rest of the U.S. Women’s National Team in the Tokyo Olympics as the draw for the tournament was announced earlier today.
The four-time FIFA World Cup champions and Olympic champions will face Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia in Group G; the latter two sides are the hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The USWNT faced the Swedish team on April 10th in a tough test. The fifth-ranked Swedes gave the Americans a run for their money and actually took a 1-0 lead into the dying embers of the match before Megan Rapinoe converted a controversial penalty to end the game at one goal apiece.
“Sweden is obviously fresh in our minds coming off the match in Stockholm, but we of course already knew how talented they are, how athletic they are, and how dedicated they are to their tactics,” head coach Vlatko Andonovski said.
“The USA and Sweden have a long history of meeting in world championships, and this will surely be another great match to open the tournament.”
Australia and New Zealand are ranked ninth and 22nd, respectively. Both teams have faced the U.S. in the Olympics before. New Zealand faced the Americans in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, while the Australians last faced the U.S. in 2004.
The U.S. team’s first match will be against Sweden on July 21st at 3:30 AM CT, which is actually two days before the opening ceremonies. The match against Australia will be played on July 24th at 6:30 AM CT, and the match against New Zealand takes place on July 27th at 3:00 AM CST.
The other two groups in the women’s section of the Olympic soccer tournament are as follows:
Group E: Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Chile
Group F: China PR, Brazil, Zambia, Netherlands
Each team will play a round-robin format in the group stage, with each team playing three matches. The top two teams in each of the three groups will advance to the quarterfinals, with the two best third-place teams joining them.
From there, the tournament follows a single-elimination, knockout format.
Who Will Win?
The U.S. will certainly be the favorite to win it all and it would be a catastrophe to not place at least second in their group. But the Americans will want to win Group G as they would then face a third-place team instead of a group runner-up.
The Swedes will always be a contender and should also advance to the quarterfinals from Group G.
Great Britain will consist of the best players from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, so expect them to be a contender along with the Canadians.
Group F will most likely pose the biggest threats to the U.S. winning their record fifth Olympic gold medal. Brazil has always had one of the best women’s teams and takes the Olympics extremely seriously, like many other South American countries do.
But the Netherlands is the biggest threat to the U.S. The Leeuwinnen were the team that faced the U.S. team in the 2019 World Cup final and gave the U.S. a good run. Lieke Martens is one of the most dynamic forwards in world soccer and Danielle van de Donk plus Jackie Groenen should boss the midfield throughout the tournament. Watch out for the women in orange.