The group stage draw for the Men’s and Women’s Olympic tournament took place and the 16 Men’s teams and 12 Women’s teams can finally prepare for their opponents in the Rio Olympics four months from now.
The Men’s tournament will consist of four groups of four teams and the top two in each group advance to the Quarterfinals. The toughest group appears to be in Group C as 2014 gold medal winners Mexico take on senior World Cup winners Germany, AFC U23 Championship runner up South Korea and Fiji. Fiji will be glad to be there but the other three teams will be competing for the two spots and it could get very competitive. Other favorites such as Brazil, Japan and Argentina should comfortably get in.
On the Women’s side, four teams in three groups will compete and all but four teams will advance to the Quarterfinals. This will make the group stage a bit irrelevant but it will still be important for positioning. The favorite will no doubt be the United States and while they have France in Group G, New Zealand and Colombia shouldn’t be a worry for the USWNT. One area of note is the US will have to go to the rain forest in Manaus for their final group stage game against Colombia and that may prove to be a factor in their very likely Quarterfinal matchup.
Group E appears to be the toughest group on the Women’s tournament with Brazil, Sweden and China all drawn with each other with South Africa. More than likely, all three can still advance to the knockout stage but the last team out of the three may see the United States much earlier than they wanted to. Germany, Canada and Australia are in Group F and could also provide drama. Germany received some unfortunate news to their Olympic hopes as Nadine Kessler retired at the age of 28 due to persistent knee injuries.
Men’s Olympic Tournament
Group A – Brazil, South Africa, Iraq, Denmark
Group B – Sweden, Colombia, Nigeria, Japan
Group C – Fiji, South Korea, Mexico, Germany
Group D – Honduras, Algeria, Portugal, Argentina
Women’s Olympic Tournament
Group E – Brazil, China, Sweden, South Africa
Group F – Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, Germany
Group G – United States, New Zealand, France, Colombia