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USWNT gets brutal Women's World Cup draw with Sweden, Australia and Nigeria

The U.S. have a terribly difficult group for the Women's World Cup, but the knockout stages could be relatively easy.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 Women's World Cup draw did the United States no favors. They ended up in the same group as Sweden, Australia and Nigeria, making it the unquestioned Group of Death.

The four teams in the group are the best teams in each pot. The U.S. is ranked No. 1 in the world and came out of Pot 1. Nigeria is the best team in Africa and were put into the group from Pot 2. Not only were Australia the best team in Pot 3, but they are also a bad match-up for the U.S. and have given the Americans a tough time. Then finally, Sweden are the No. 5 team in the world and probably should have been seeded, but were dropped into Pot 4 and then ended up with the U.S.

FIFA began the draw by saying that they wouldn't actually be drawing teams from Pot 1. Instead, they had placed each team from the pot into groups and they did not explain why. The U.S. got placed into Group D, which means their first two matches are in Winnipeg, followed by one in Vancouver. That was followed by the drawing of balls from bowls, which dealt the Americans a rough group.

The good news for the U.S. is that the winners of Groups A and D don't have to play another group winner until the semifinals. So as tough as Group D is, if they can win it, they will have a decently easy ride through the knockout stages.

In the knockout stages, the U.S. look most likely to play Germany in the semifinals, before Japan in the final, assuming they get that far. That's rough, but that's only two really tough matches, which beats a draw like the Germans, who would have to close with France, then the US., then Japan.

The first U.S. match will be on June 8 against Australia in Winnipeg, followed by Sweden on June 12, again in Winnipeg. That match will be highlighted by the Americans taking on their former manager Pia Sundhage and it should be the best match of the group stage anywhere in the tournament. Finally, the U.S. will head to Vancouver to close the group stage against Nigeria on June 16.

USA group stage schedule

June 8 vs. Australia, Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
June 12 vs. Sweden, Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
June 16 vs. Nigeria, BC Place, Vancouver