April 14, 2016
USWNT to face New Zealand, France, Colombia in Olympic group play
CHICAGO - The United States will face New Zealand, France and Colombia in Group G at the 2016 Olympic women's soccer tournament throughout Brazil from Aug. 3-19.
The Olympic draw took place at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro Thursday morning.
The U.S. will open Group G play on Aug. 3 - two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremonies - against New Zealand (7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte. The USA will stay in Belo Horizonte - which is 270 miles north of Rio de Janeiro - to face France at Mineirão Stadium on Aug. 6 (5 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Colombia on Aug. 9 (6 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at the Amazônia Stadium in Manaus, the same arena in which the U.S. MNT tied Portugal, 2-2, during the 2014 World Cup, and the furthest soccer venue from Rio.
"It's always a positive to learn your path at a major tournament and it gives our team and staff increased focus on the challenges we will face in Brazil," U.S. head coach Jill Ellis said. "We have tremendous respect for all of our opponents and know each one will bring a different style that we must be prepared for, but as always our prime focus continues to be on the evolution of this team so we are playing our best during the Olympics."
The Americans' draw pits the Americans against two teams it faced in group play at the 2012 Olympics, where the USA defeated France 4-2 (after coming back from a 2-0 deficit) and Colombia 3-0. Both games were played at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. This will be the third consecutive Olympics in which the USA will play New Zealand. The USA faced the Football Ferns at the Olympics four years ago, winning 2-0 in the quarterfinal match. This will be the USA's second meeting with New Zealand in group play at an Olympics as the teams met in Shenyang, China in 2008 with the USA winning 4-0 to take top spot in the group.
The game in Belo Horizonte will mark the third meeting with France in a world championship. Including the aforementioned Olympic matchup in 2012, the teams also squared off in the semifinal of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, a 3-1 U.S. win in Monchengladbach, Germany
The USA will meet Colombia in world championship play for the fourth consecutive time. The three previous meetings saw the USA defeat Colombia 3-0 in group play at the 2011 Women's World Cup, 3-0 in group play at the 2012 Olympics and 2-0 in the Round of 16 at the 2015 Women's World Cup.
The USA, ranked first in the FIFA Women's World rankings and the reigning Women's World Cup champions, were seeded along with second-ranked Germany and host Brazil. Brazil was placed into Group E and will play its first two matches at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro before finishing group play at Amazônia Arena in Manaus. The United States and Germany were then drawn in Groups G and F, respectively. The USA was also in Group G at the 2012 Olympics.
France, which finished fourth at the 2012 Olympics, is third in the rankings, New Zealand is 16th and Colombia is 24th.