U.S. Women’s National Team drawn into ‘Group of Death’

Comparisons between the outstanding U.S. Women’s National Team program and the still-growing progress of their male counterparts are ever present, particularly come World Cup time.

On Saturday, both found common ground.

Like the USMNT, the women’s national team faces quite a challenge at next year’s World Cup tournament, drawing what many have dubbed the Group of Death.

Group D will feature matches against Sweden, Australia and Nigeria at next summer’s tournament in Canada.

Sweden presents the biggest threat of the bunch.  A familiar face in former coach Pia Sundhage has a well prepared side that has found success against the U.S. women in the past.  Tenth ranked Australia represent another familiar and difficult opponent, with several stars featuring in the domestic National Women’s Soccer League.  Nigeria, meanwhile, rounds out the group.  While the weakest of the bunch, they have managed success in their confederation, winning the African Women’s Championship this year.

Teams must finish in the top two of their group after a round robin of play to move on. Unlike the Men’s World Cup, only six groups are drawn, meaning the four best third-place teams will also advance to the Round of 16.

The Americans start the tournament on June 8th in Winnipeg against Australia.  They stay in town for the much anticipated June 12th match against Sweden.  From there, it is on to Vancouver to face Nigeria on the 16th.

Here is the full group listing:

Group A (Edmonton, Montreal, Winnipeg):
Canada
China PR
New Zealand
Netherlands

Group B (Ottawa, Winnipeg, Moncton): 
Germany
Ivory Coast
Norway
Thailand

Group C (Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton):
Japan
Switzerland
Cameroon
Ecuador

Group D (Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton): 
USA
Australia
Sweden
Nigeria

Group E (Montreal, Moncton, Ottawa):
Brazil
Korea Republic
Spain
Costa Rica

Group F (Moncton, Ottawa, Montreal): 
France
England
Colombia
Mexico


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