USWNT draws New Zealand, France, Colombia in Group G at 2016 Olympics
CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The United States will face New Zealand, France and Colombia in Group G at the 2016 Olympic women’s soccer tournament taking place from Aug. 3-19 at seven venues throughout Brazil. The Olympic Final Draw took place on Thursday morning at the famed Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
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 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 USA’s 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.
Prior to the Final Draw, the USA, currently 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 currently third in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, New Zealand is 16th and Colombia is 24th.
Drawn into Group E with Brazil were China PR, Sweden and South Africa. Group F will consist of Germany, Canada, the tournament’s only debutante Zimbabwe, and Australia.
France qualified for the Olympics by virtue of its top-two finish among European teams at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, even though it fell in the quarterfinal to Germany. New Zealand routed Papua New Guinea, winner of the 2015 Pacific Games, in a play-off in January 2016 to earn Oceania’s berth at Rio 2016. Colombia finished second behind Brazil in the 2014 Women’s Copa America to qualify.
The USA is coming off two friendly matches against Colombia, winning 7-0 on April 6 in East Hartford, Connecticut, and 3-0 on April 10 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The USA has also played France this year, winning 1-0 during the SheBelieves Cup on a late goal from Alex Morgan. The USA last played New Zealand during a friendly before the 2015 Women’s World Cup, winning 4-0 on April 4, 2015 in St. Louis.
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 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.
2016 Brazil Olympics Groups – Women’s Soccer
Group E (Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Brasilia):
Group F (São Paulo, Salvador, Brasilia):
Group G (Belo Horizonte, Manaus, Salvador):
– U.S. All-Time Record vs. Group G Olympic Opponents –
-2016 Olympic Schedule – U.S. Women’s National Team –
Date Opponent Venue Kickoff
Aug. 3 New Zealand Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Mineirão Stadium) 7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET
Aug. 6 France Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Mineirão Stadium) 5 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET
Aug. 9 Colombia Manaus, Brazil (Amazônia Stadium) 6 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET