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September 14, 2008
U.S. learns U-20 Women’s draw

SANTIAGO, Chile--- The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team has been drawn into Group B of the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup along with France, Argentina and China, and will based in Chillan for its first two games before moving to Temuco to round out the first stage. The Final Draw took place on Saturday evening.

The U.S. will open against France on November 19 before facing Argentina on November 22, with both games taking place at the Estadio Nelson Oyarzun in Chillan. The team will then travel to Estadio German Becker in Temuco to conclude group play against China.

The field of 16 teams was divided into four groups of four, with the USA, host Chile, Brazil and Germany earning the top seeds in the draw. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinals. Should the U.S. advance out of Group B, they will face an opponent from Group A, which consists of Chile, England, New Zealand and Nigeria.

The USA’s first opponent, France, was one of four teams to qualify from Europe by reaching the semifinals of the 2007 UEFA Under-19 Women’s Championship. Despite taking a two goal lead in the semifinal, France fell to eventual champions Germany, 4-2, in overtime. The powerful French offense scored eight goals in four games during that tournament. The U.S. and France squared off in group play at the 2006 U-20 Women’s World Cup with the Americans coming away with a 1-0 win.

Argentina is one of two teams to qualify from South America, along with Brazil, as Chile got an automatica berth as the tournament host. The Albiceleste reached their first World Cup at this age level in 2006, and will be looking to build upon a third-place finish in their group in Russia. Argentina won their group at the qualifying tournament, scoring 14 goals in eight matches on their road to the championship match. Despite falling to powerhouse Brazil in the final, Argentina had already successfully secured their place in Chile. The U.S. also played Argentina during the 2006 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia, winning 4-1 win in the second game of group play.

China secured a berth to their third consecutive FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup as the third-place team out of Asia. Playing host to the qualifying tournament in October 2007, China advanced to the semifinals but fell to Japan, 4-1. Facing South Korea in an all-important third-place match, China prevailed 1-0.The Chinese will be looking to repeat their recent success at this tournament, having reached the final of the past two editions, falling to Germany in Thailand 2004 and North Korea in Russia 2006.

In preparation for the tournament, U.S. head coach Tony DiCicco will hold two training camps before heading to Chile. The team will train in Sunrise, Fla. from Sept. 21-29, after which, DiCicco will make his final roster selections. The 21-player roster will come together from October 19-26 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

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