France 2019: Draw reprises US vs Sweden Olympic battle and England vs Japan WC clash

December 12 – World champions the United States have another mouth-watering clash with old rivals Sweden at next year’s women’s World Cup in France following the draw held at the weekend.

The US, who beat Japan 5-2 to win the last World Cup in Canada three years ago, will be bidding to lift the title for a record fourth time though they have never won it on European soil.

The US has played in every women’s World Cup since the competition started in 1991 and will be out to gain revenge against the Swedes for their 2016 Olympic quarterfinal defeat. After that game, which the Swedes won on penalties after a 1-1 draw,  US goalkeeper Hope Solo infamously described the opposition as “cowards” for concentrating on defense.

Their clash will be the final match of the group in Le Havre on June 20, meaning both teams may have already secured their passage to the round of 16.

“The draw is good for us, it pits us against a couple of teams that we’re not that familiar with which I like. And then of course Sweden and I like having Sweden as the third game, I think that allows us to settle in to the tournament” said US coach Jill Ellis.

Hosts France, who have never gone beyond the World Cup semi-finals, play the opening match against South Korea in Paris on June 7.

After recording their best World Cup finish of third in 2015, Phil Neville’s England face an opening Group D game against neighbours Scotland in Nice. In a tough group England also face Argentina and Japan, who knocked them out at the semi-final stage in Canada.

Fifty-two matches will be played across nine stadiums with the final set to take place in |Lyon on July 7.

Group A: France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria.

Group B: Germany, China, Spain, South Africa.

Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica.

Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan.

Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands.

Group F: United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden.

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