Soccer: "Ready for anyone"; USWNT loves tough Olympic draw
Soccer: “Ready for anyone”; USWNT loves tough Olympic draw

Emma Hayes’s first game as coach of the U.S. women’s national team will be at the Paris Olympics, against either Morocco or Zambia. The U.S. was put in a tough Group B with Germany, Australia, and one of the African teams.

The English coach will start her job about two months before the four-time gold medalists’ first game, which is on July 25 in Nice against the Germans. Three days later, on July 30, they play Australia in Marseille.

Takeover coach Twila Kilgore told reporters on Wednesday, “I think it’s going to be a very, very strong Olympics… and to be honest, all the groups are hard.”

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“We wouldn’t want to think too little of our opponents, but we’d be ready for anyone.” We meet every challenge head-on; we love trouble and stress, and it’s great to have these opponents.

The match between Morocco and Zambia will take place over two games in early April. The winner will go to France.

Australia and the USWNT played twice at the last Olympics, in Tokyo three years ago. In the group stage, they tied 0-0, and in the bronze medal match, the USWNT beat Australia 4–3.

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Tony Gustavsson, the coach of the Matildas, said that he was ready for a tough draw because the 12 teams were so good.

“The way to tell the quality of the teams that are joining this competition is to look at the teams that are not in it,” the Swede said.

“Sweden missed out, England missed out, Holland missed out and this is going to be a massive, massive opportunity for women’s football.””This group is going to be really, really, really exciting.”

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When it comes to Olympics, Australia’s run to the last four in Tokyo was their best. But last year, they made it to the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup, while the USWNT was eliminated in the round of 16 and Germany didn’t make it out of their group.

Germany’s first game is on July 25 against Australia in Marseille. They won their only Olympic title in Rio in 2016 but couldn’t protect it in Tokyo because they didn’t make the qualifying rounds.

Horst Hrubesch, who took over as Germany coach from Martina Voss-Tecklenburg in November, was pleased with the result.

“You know what to expect from Australia; they play a tough game,” he said in a news statement.
“With the USA we also know what’s going on, and with Zambia or Morocco as our third game, that actually suits us quite well.”

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