USA Women's Soccer Schedule Set for 2012 Olympics
POSTED: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 12:05pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 11:26am
The U.S. Women's National Team will face France, Colombia and Korea DPR in Group G at the 2012 London Olympics taking place from July 25-Aug. 9 at six venues throughout Great Britain. The Olympic Final Draw took place on Tuesday morning in the Bobby Moore Room at Wembley Stadium in London.
The U.S. will open Group G play on July 25 - two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremonies - against France (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET) at the famed Hampden Park, Scotland's National Stadium in Glasgow. The USA will then face Colombia at Hampden Park on July 28 (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Korea DPR on July 31 (5:15 p.m. local / 12:15 p.m. ET) at the legendary Old Trafford in Manchester, home to Manchester United. ( 2012 Olympics Schedule)
The USA's draw pits the Americans against three teams it faced at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and two teams it faced in group play in Colombia and Korea DPR. In Germany, the USA played Korea DPR first and now will face the Asian power in the group finale. Like in the Women's World Cup, the USA will play Colombia second.
The USA is grouped with Korea DPR in the first round of a world championship for the fifth time, having faced the North Koreans in opening round play in four consecutive Women's World Cup tournaments. This will be the USA's first meeting with France in group play and second meeting in a world championship after defeating France 3-1 in the semifinal of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup last July 13 in Monchengladbach, Germany. Lauren Cheney, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan scored for the USA on that rainy day to send the Americans to the World Cup Final.
France is currently sixth in FIFA Women's World Rankings, Korea DPR is eighth and Colombia is 28th.
"It's always exciting to know who we will be playing," said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. "We will start with an excellent opponent that we faced in the World Cup and that is a good thing. Once again, we will be facing teams with different playing styles and that is a challenge our team enjoys. When the draw happens, it energizes our players and brings even more of a focus to our team. We also have the chance to start scouting and preparing for what will be an entertaining and extremely competitive first round."
Prior to the Final Draw, host Great Britain was seeded into Group E as E1 and will play its first two matches at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff before finishing group play at Wembley Stadium in London. Women's World Cup champion Japan was seeded into Group F at F1 and will play its first two matches at the City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry before finishing its group action at Cardiff. The USA, currently ranked first in the world by FIFA, was seeded into Group G at G1.
Drawn into Group E with Great Britain were New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil. Group F will consist of Japan, Canada, Sweden and South Africa.
The USA-France match on July 25 will be the marquee opening game for the women's soccer competition at the Olympics. France qualified for the Olympics by virtue of its top-two finish among European teams at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup but lost its last two games to the USA in the semifinal and to Sweden in the third-place match. The USA is 12-0-1 all-time against France, a team thought by many to be one of the best attacking sides at the Women's World Cup.
The USA will stay in Glasgow for its second Group G match against Colombia, which qualified as the second-place team from South America, along with Brazil, during a qualifying tournament that sent both countries to the Women's World Cup and the Olympics. In Women's World Cup group play last July 2 in Sinsheim, the USA defeated Colombia 3-0 on goals from Heather O'Reilly, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.
It should come as no surprise that the USA faces the North Koreans as the countries will square off for the fifth time in a world championship dating back to the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup in the United States. The teams have never met outside of a Women's World Cup tournament. In the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cups, the teams played in the third and final group match. In the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women's World Cups, the teams kicked off group play against each other. The USA has compiled a 3-0-1 record against the North Koreans after the 2-0 victory (on goals from Cheney and Rachel Buehler) in Dresden, Germany, last June 28, and this will be the first meeting in the Olympics. The North Koreans qualified for the Olympics by finishing second behind Japan in the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament held last September in China.
The Olympic Women's Football Tournament features 12 teams, with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the quarterfinals along with the two best third-place teams. Should the U.S. advance to the second round by winning the group, it would meet a third-place team from Group E or F. If the USA's finishes second in the group, it would face the first-place team from Group F. A third-place finish could mean a possible meeting with the first-place team from Group E.
For a complete tournament schedule, fans can visit ussoccer.com.