USWNT draw with Netherlands in World Cup group stage

USWNT draw with Netherlands in World Cup group stage

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The path for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team to win an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title next year will include a group stage showdown with the country they defeated in the World Cup final. 2019, the Netherlands, and could feature a knockout round clash. with Sweden in second place.

Otherwise, the top-ranked Americans were pleased with the results of Saturday’s draw in New Zealand, which will co-host the tournament with Australia.

As the top seed in Group E, the United States will play all first-round matches in New Zealand and potentially all but one there before the August 20 final in Sydney.

The United States opener on July 22 in Auckland will face Vietnam for the first time, followed five days later by a clash in Wellington with the eighth-seeded Netherlands, who lost to the United States. United, 2-0, in the 2019 final in France.

The group match will end on August 1 in Auckland against the winner of a February playoff between the Portuguese No.23, Thai No.41 and Cameroonian No.58.

“We got a good draw but a bit difficult,” said USA coach Vlatko Andonovski. “I’m excited about it. This is where the real preparation begins.

With a 20-1-3 record in group play, the United States should have little trouble earning one of the two group spots in the knockout stage. If the standings hold, they will face No.14 Italy, the second-best team in Group G, in the Round of 16 in Sydney.

By finishing second in the group, however, the Americans would likely face Group G favorites Sweden, who beat them 3-0 in the 2021 Olympic group stage. group stage of the previous five World Cups, with the Americans winning three, losing one and tying one.

“I have faith in the group, but it’s really not the group, because there are a lot of games to be played in a World Cup, and the competition keeps getting stronger and stronger,” said former US star Carli Lloyd, who co-hosted the draw ceremony in Auckland.

The Americans were delighted with the general classification: until the final, they would avoid England, European champions, Canada, Olympic gold medalists in 2021, and Germany, France, Brazil and Australia . The best teams on their side of the table are Sweden, Japan and Spain.

Six stadiums in Australia and four in New Zealand will host the 64 matches. All but three participants are defined. A 10-nation qualifier from February 18-23 in Auckland will complete the field of 32 teams, the largest since FIFA launched a women’s championship in 1991.

Although the Americans arrive at the World Cup among the favorites, they have their work cut out for them. Earlier this month they lost consecutive games for the first time in 5½ years, losing to fourth-placed England 2-1 and sixth-placed Spain 2-0. They will resume their preparations with two friendlies against third-placed Germany: Nov. 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Nov. 13 in Harrison, NJ.

Preparation for the World Cup will include two friendlies in February and two in April. Opponents and venues have not been finalized.

“We have a lot of work to do next year,” said American midfielder Lindsey Horan. “We have to be better. We must learn and grow. I hope it will improve a lot next year. »

FIFA ranking in brackets

group A: New Zealand (22), Norway (12), Philippines (53), Switzerland (21).

Group B: Australia (13), Ireland (24), Nigeria (45), Canada (7).

Group C: Spain (6), Costa Rica (37), Zambia (81), Japan (11).

Group D: England (4), winner of the playoffs, Denmark (18), China (15).

Group E: USA (1), Vietnam (34), Netherlands (8), playoff winner.

Group F: France (5), Jamaica (43), Brazil (9), winner of the playoffs.

Group G: Sweden (2), South Africa (54), Italy (14), Argentina (29).

Group H: Germany (3), South Korea (17), Colombia (27), Morocco (76).

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