USWNT schedule set for World Cup


The pathway for the U.S. ladies’s nationwide soccer group to win an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title subsequent yr will embrace a group-stage showdown with the nation it defeated within the 2019 closing, the Netherlands, and will characteristic a round-of-16 conflict with second-ranked Sweden.

Otherwise, the top-ranked Americans welcomed the outcomes of the draw performed Saturday in New Zealand, which can co-host the event with Australia.

As the highest seed in Group E, the United States will play all first-round matches in New Zealand and doubtlessly all however one in that nation earlier than the Aug. 20 closing in Sydney.

The U.S. opener July 22 in Auckland is in opposition to first-time participant Vietnam, adopted 5 days later by a conflict in Wellington with the eighth-ranked Netherlands, which misplaced to the United States, 2-0, within the 2019 closing in France.

Group play will conclude Aug. 1 in Auckland in opposition to the winner of a playoff in February between No. 23 Portugal, No. 41 Thailand and No. 58 Cameroon.

“We got a good but somewhat tough draw,” U.S. Coach Vlatko Andonovski mentioned. “I’m excited about it. This is when the real preparation starts.”

With a 20-1-3 report in group play, the United States isn’t anticipated to have a lot hassle incomes one of many group’s two locations within the knockout stage. If rankings maintain kind, it will face No. 14 Italy, the second-best group in Group G, within the spherical of 16 in Sydney.

By ending second within the group, nonetheless, the Americans would possible play Group G favourite Sweden, which routed them, 3-0, within the 2021 Olympic group stage. The United States and Sweden met within the group stage the earlier 5 World Cups, with the Americans successful three, shedding one and tying one.

“I’m confident about the group, but it’s really not about the group, because there’s a lot of games to be played in a World Cup, and the competition just keeps getting stronger and better,” mentioned former U.S. star Carli Lloyd, who co-hosted the draw ceremony in Auckland.

The Americans had been thrilled with the general bracket: Until the ultimate, they’d keep away from European champion England, 2021 Olympic gold medalist Canada and contenders Germany, France, Brazil and Australia. The prime groups on their facet of the bracket are Sweden, Japan and Spain.

Six stadiums in Australia and 4 in New Zealand will host the 64 matches. All however three members are set. A ten-nation playoff Feb. 18-23 in Auckland will full the 32-team area, the biggest since FIFA launched a ladies’s championship in 1991.

Though the Americans will arrive on the World Cup as one of many favorites, they’ve acquired their work minimize out for them. Early this month, they misplaced consecutive video games for the primary time in 5½ years, falling in opposition to fourth-ranked England, 2-1, and No. 6 Spain, 2-0. They’ll resume preparations with two friendlies in opposition to third-ranked Germany: Nov. 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Nov. 13 in Harrison, N.J.

The run-up to the World Cup will embrace two friendlies in February and two in April. The opponents and venues haven’t been finalized.

“We have a lot of work to do in the next year,” U.S. midfielder Lindsey Horan mentioned. “We need to be better. We need to learn and grow. Hopefully, it’s going to improve a lot in the next year.”

FIFA rating in parentheses

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), playoff winner*, Denmark (18), China (15).

Group E: United States (1), Vietnam (34), Netherlands (8), playoff winner**.

Group F: France (5), Jamaica (43), Brazil (9), playoff winner***.

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

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

*Chile (38), Senegal (84) or Haiti (56).

**Portugal (23), Cameroon (58) or Thailand (41).

***Taiwan (40), Paraguay (51), Papua New Guinea (50) or Panama (57).

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