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Sport

USA and Spain handed tough draws in women’s Olympic tournament

todayMarch 21, 2024 3

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Four-times winners USA, Germany and Australia were placed in the same group, while hosts France will play holders Canada after the draw for the 2024 Olympic women’s football tournament was made on Wednesday.

Groups B and C appear particularly challenging, while France and Canada can be hopeful of securing their places in the knock-out rounds from Group A.

The United States will face Germany, Australia and the winner of one of the two African zone qualifiers in Group B.

“It’s a tough group, but they’re all tough groups,” said the USA’s interim coach Twila Kilgore.

“Our team thrives on that.”

Group C consists of World Cup and Nations League winners Spain, Brazil, Japan and the other qualifier from CAF.

It is Spain’s very first participation in the women’s tournament and, despite being drawn alongside 2011 world champions Japan, Montserrat Tome’s charges remain favourites.

Spain have been unstoppable in recent years, led by Ballon d’Or winners Aitana Bonmati and Alexia Putellas.

The United States’ last Olympic title came in 2012 and after a disappointing 2023 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the last 16 by Sweden, some may be writing them off from claiming a fifth Games gold.

USA’s Kilgore says her team have bounced back from that disappointment: “We’ve just come off a great Gold Cup… we’ve taken a few steps in a new direction.

“We’re excited to compete, as we always are, we’re taking it one game at a time and hopefully that puts us in a place where we’re competing to the end.”

They have the impending arrival of star coach Emma Hayes from Chelsea to further boost them before the Games’ start.

Speaking on the arrival of Hayes, the interim coach said the group “were really excited” for the Englishwoman’s arrival.

France are seeking to become just the second host country to win gold after the US in 1996.

The hosts were given a relatively easier draw compared to Groups B and C, and will face Canada, Colombia and New Zealand in Group A.

The tournament could be the last chance for players such as Wendie Renard, Eugenie Le Sommer or Amandine Henry to win a major international trophy with France.

The women’s tournament will begin on July 25, one day before the Games opening ceremony, and conclude with the final in Paris on August 10.

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the last quarter-finals, along with the two best third-placed sides.

Full draw for the women’s football tournament at the 2024 Olympic Games:

Group A: France, Canada, Colombia, New Zealand

Group B: USA, Germany, Australia, CAF 2

Group C: Spain, Japan, Brazil, CAF 1

The CAF Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament fourth round will decide the final two participants. The matches will be played over two legs between April 1-9.

Ties:

Zambia v Morocco, Nigeria v South Africa

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AFP

(NAMPA / AFP)

Written by: Staff Writer

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