CHICAGO – The final draw for the 2020 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament will take place on Wednesday at 4 a.m. ET / 10 a.m. CET at the home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland.
The draw will be conducted virtually and livestreamed on the official FIFA YouTube Channel. Former USWNT standout and two-time Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Tarpley Snow will be an assistant for the virtual draw.
The women’s tournament will feature 12 nations drawn into three groups – E, F and G – that consist of four teams each. As host country, Japan has been seeded, along with the top two qualified teams in the current FIFA Women’s World Rankings – the United States and the Netherlands.
As host, Japan has been seeded into Group E at E1 and will play its first two games in Sapporo before heading south for its final group game in Miyagi. If drawn into Group F, the USA will play its first two games in Miyagi and a third in either Yokohama or Saitama. If drawn into Group G, the USA will play its first game at Tokyo Stadium before traveling to Saitama in the Tokyo suburbs for its second match and then Kashima or Miyagi for the final game of the group stage. The full schedule can be found here.
2020 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament Pot Allocation:
Pot 1: Japan, USA, Netherlands
Pot 2: Sweden, Great Britain, Brazil
Pot 3: Canada, Australia, China PR
Pot 4: New Zealand, Chile, Zambia
FIFA’s general principle is to ensure that no group has more than one team from the same confederation drawn into it and therefore with the way the preliminary pots have been allocated according to the latest FIFA rankings, the USA can draw only seven teams: Sweden or Great Britain from Pot 2 (as the Netherlands cannot play a European team in its group and thus must draw Brazil), Australia or China PR from Pot 3 (as the USA cannot draw Concacaf foe Canada), and any of the three teams in Pot 4: New Zealand, Chile or Zambia. Chile cannot go into Brazil’s group thus the USA has a higher chance to draw its 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup group opponent than it does New Zealand or Zambia.
The draw will start with Pot 1 and ends with Pot 4. Each pot is completely emptied before moving on to the next pot. After a team is placed in a group, a ball will be drawn to place that team in its order in the group, e.g., F1, F2, F3 or F4.
Should the USA draw Zambia, it would mark its first meeting ever against the Shepolopolo, who will be making their Olympic debut after defeating Cameroon on away goals in the final round of the 2020 CAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The USA has also never faced Team GB – a squad that can be comprised of representatives from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – at the Olympics, though it has played both England and Scotland numerous times.
At the Olympics, the top two finishers in each group, along with the two best third-place teams, will advance to the quarterfinal round, at which time the tournament becomes a knockout competition.
The Olympics is an intense tournament as there are also only two rest days between the second and third group games, between the end of group play and the quarterfinal, and between the quarterfinal and the semifinal. Teams that make the Final will be gifted with a third rest day before squaring off for the gold medal. The quarterfinals are July 30, the semifinals Aug. 2, the bronze-medal match Aug. 5 and the gold medal game Aug. 6. The Olympic closing ceremonies are Aug. 8. All teams will be in the same venue (or close by) for their first two games and travel for their third group matches.