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USA learns group for Olympics, possible roads to gold

The Olympic draw was this morning and the United States learned who'll they face in group

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The United States was drawn into Group G in the Olympic draw today, placing them in a group with New Zealand, France, and Colombia.

That makes their group schedule:

August 3, New Zealand, Belo Horizonte

August 6 France, Belo Horizonte

August 9, Colombia, Manaus

That also means the USWNT will be hopping back and forth to the Olympics' most far-flung stadium during group, as opposed to groups E and F, which switch off between the relatively much closer Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Predicting a route to the gold medal

Given the other groups in the tournament, this is fairly decent draw for the United States, although France is always a reason to worry. But it does make it more important that the United States win its group, since Group G winner plays the 3rd place team from Group E or F in quarterfinals. If the US comes second in group, they must then play the 1st place team from Group F, which is likely to be Germany.

But if the United States comes first in group, their opponents are:

Quarterfinals: 3rd place Group E/Group F, Brasilia

Semifinals: winner of 1st place Group E vs 3rd place Group F/Group G, Rio de Janeiro

It's no given that a first place win will make advancement easier though. Group E and Group F are both stacked with troublesome teams, which means a third place team from either group could be Brazil, Canada, Australia, China PR, or Sweden. (Apologies to South Africa and Zimbabwe.) Still, it's probably preferable to face one of those teams in quarterfinals instead of Germany.

Semifinals are even harder to predict. First place in Group E is likely to be Brazil or China PR, assuming Sweden continues to underachieve as it did in the World Cup. Third place from Group F or Group G could be Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Colombia. Any one of those countries could make it interesting for any one of the other countries in the list, although Brazil, China, and Australia are probably your frontrunners there for advancement.

The other semifinal game is the winner of 1st place Group F vs 2nd place Group G and the winner of 2nd place Group E vs 2nd place Group F.  Assuming the United States wins Group G (and making some more assumptions about group rankings) that would probably look like the winner of Germany vs France playing the winner of  China PR vs Australia. Out of those four teams, the other semifinal will probably end up being Germany vs Australia, with Germany to advance to the final.

So we're calling it now: a United States vs Germany final.

How do you feel about the United States' Olympic draw?