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USWNT schedule set for World Cup

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The U.S. women’s national soccer team’s path to an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title win next year will include a group stage showdown with the Netherlands, the country they defeated in the 2019 final, and could feature a match of 16. with Sweden in second place.

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

The first-placed USA in Group E will play all first-round games in New Zealand and potentially all but one game there before the final in Sydney on 20 August.

The USA’s opening in Auckland on 22 July was followed by a clash against Vietnam, which participated for the first time, followed by a clash with the eighth-ranked Netherlands, who lost 2-0 to the USA in the 2019 final in Wellington, France, five days later.

The group match will end on August 1 in Auckland with the winner of the playoff match played in February between Portugal number 23, Thailand number 41 and Cameroon number 58.

“We got a good but somewhat difficult draw,” said USA Coach Vlatko Andonovski. said. “I’m excited for this. That’s when the real preparation begins.”

Having a 20-1-3 record in the group match, the USA is not expected to have too many problems in winning one of the two places of the group in the qualifying stage. If the standings continue, they will face Italy 14th, the second best team in Group G, in the round of 16 in Sydney.

However, the Americans would play Group G favorite Sweden, who finished second in the group, beating them 3-0 in the 2021 Olympic group stage. The United States and Sweden have met in the group stage in the previous five World Cups, with the Americans winning three, losing one and drawing one.

“I’m confident about the group, but it’s not really about the group, because there are so many games to be played in a World Cup and the competition is getting stronger and stronger,” said former US star Carli Lloyd. It hosted the draw ceremony in Auckland.

Americans were excited by the general bracket: Until the final, they will avoid European champion England, 2021 Olympic gold medalists Canada, and contenders Germany, France, Brazil and Australia. The best teams on their side of the bracket are Sweden, Japan and Spain.

Six stadiums in Australia and four in New Zealand will host 64 matches. All participants except three were adjusted. A 10-nation playoff in Auckland from February 18-23 will complete the 32-team field, the largest since FIFA launched a women’s championship in 1991.

Even though the Americans will come to the World Cup as one of the favourites, they’ve had their work set for them. Earlier this month, they lost 2-1 to fourth-placed England and 2-0 to No.6 Spain, losing back-to-back games for the first time in 5½ years. They’ll continue their preparations with two friendly games against third-placed Germany: November 10 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and November 13 in Harrison, N.J.

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 US midfielder Lindsey Horan. “We need to be better. We have to learn and grow. Hopefully next year it will be much better,” he said.

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), 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).