Paris Olympics soccer draw: United States women face Germany and Australia. Men meet France

PARIS (AP) — The United States women’s soccer team will face Germany and Australia at the Paris Olympics when incoming coach Emma Hayes looks to get off to a strong start in the job.

The draws for the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments were held at a ceremony in Saint-Denis on Wednesday.

The record four-time gold-medalist was drawn against fifth-ranked Germany and World Cup semifinalist Australia in Group B. Those teams will be joined by either Morocco or Zambia.

Hayes takes up her role as U.S. coach in May after finishing the season with Chelsea, where she is challenging for a quadruple of trophies in her final year. She has already won 14 major trophies at Chelsea, including six Women's Super League titles.

Twila Kilgore is U.S. interim coach until Hayes can join the team. Kilgore recently led the team to the title in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“The bottom line is we're excited to have a path, to know who we're playing for the most part, to be able to start working on specific game plans,” Kilgore said. “But also just to know the logistical path. There's so much that goes into an Olympics with a short turnaround and congested games.”

The U.S. hasn't won Olympic gold since 2012 and is coming off a disappointing Women's World Cup last year when it suffered its earliest exit from the tournament after being knocked out by Sweden on penalties in the round of 16. It had never finished worse than third at previous World Cups.

Hayes has established herself as a leading coach. She can further add to her record by winning a clean sweep of trophies this season — including the Champions League, which is the one competition she is yet to deliver at Chelsea.

Defending champion Canada was drawn into Group A with host France, Colombia and New Zealand. Before winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Games, Canada won back-to-back bronze medals in London and Brazil.

“We know more than ever that there’s not an easy game in the women’s game, no matter what the ranking is," Canada coach Bev Priestman said. "We know the other routes we could have gone down. Pleased, excited, but taking nothing for granted.”

World Cup winner Spain is in Group C with Japan and Brazil. Nigeria or South Africa will join that group.

The U.S. men’s team will face France at the Paris Games after being drawn in the same group as the host nation for the men’s tournament.

The U.S. is competing at the Games for the first time since Beijing in 2008 and faces a potentially daunting task after being drawn alongside France and Thierry Henry in Group A.

Also in the group are New Zealand and the winner of a playoff between teams from the Asian and the African confederations.

World champion Argentina was drawn in Group B with Morocco, Ukraine and an Asian qualifier.

Spain, runner-up in Tokyo, is in Group C along with Egypt, Dominican Republic and another Asian qualifier.

Group D features Paraguay, Mali and Israel as well as an Asian team.

Men’s Olympic soccer is limited to players under 23, with three roster spots allowed over the age limit.

The soccer tournament begins two days before the Olympic opening ceremony on July 24. The women’s final is Aug. 10, concluding Olympic for the first time.

Soccer will be played in Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Saint-Étienne and Lyon.


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