USWNT draw France, Colombia, New Zealand in Olympic Draw

USWNT celebrates

by TOM SLATER 

It’s nowhere like the Group of Death, but the United States won’t cakewalk through the Group play in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In a draw held Thursday at Rio, the United States was placed in a group with New Zealand, France and Colombia in Group G.

The U.S. will open Group G play on Aug. 3 – two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremonies – against New Zealand (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 (4 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Colombia on Aug. 9 (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 FIFA 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,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “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 USWNT, the defending gold medal winners, faced France and Colombia in London in the 2012 Olympics. The Americans beat France, 4-2, after climbing out of a 2-0 hole, and blanked Colombia, 3-0. The United States also beat France, 1-0, on a stoppage time goal by Alex Morgan in the SheBelieves Cup in March. The United States won a pair of friendlies over Colombia handily this month, 7-0 and 3-0. They also beat them 2-0 in the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

For a complete tournament schedule, visit www.ussoccer.com