Women's World Cup draw: USWNT gets Sweden in Olympic rematch

The 2019 Women’s World Cup draw is complete. And for the United States, the reigning world champions, it offered up two gripping narratives.

The USWNT was drawn into Group F alongside Sweden – the nation which knocked the Americans out of their last major international tournament, the 2016 Olympics, and in general a familiar foe. The two nations have met six times in World Cup groups. But its the 2016 quarterfinal in Brazil that will have the U.S. out for revenge.

More importantly, though, Saturday’s draw  put the U.S. on a quarterfinal collision course with host – and second-favorite – France. That’s the story. The group should be navigable. The knockout round will be about as tough as can be.

Here’s the complete 2019 Women’s World Cup draw:

2019 Women’s World Cup groups

Group A — A1: France A2: South Korea A3: Norway A4: Nigeria
Group B — B1: Germany B2: China B3: Spain B4: South Africa
Group C — C1: Australia C2: Italy C3: Brazil C4: Jamaica
Group D — D1: England D2: Scotland D3: Argentina D4: Japan
Group E — E1: Canada E2: Cameroon E3: New Zealand E4: Netherlands
Group F — F1: United States F2: Thailand F3: Chile F4: Sweden

USWNT’s World Cup schedule

The U.S. group schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, June 11, 3 p.m. ET/9 p.m. local time | vs. Thailand | Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims
Sunday, June 16, 9 a.m. ET/3 p.m. local time | vs. Chile | Parc des Princes in Paris
Thursday, June 20, 3 p.m. ET/9 p.m. local time | vs. Sweden | Stade Oceane in Le Havre

If the U.S. wins its group, and continues advancing …

Round of 16: Monday, June 24, noon ET/6 p.m. local time | Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims
Quarterfinal: Friday, June 28, 3 p.m. ET/9 p.m. local time | Parc des Princes in Paris
Semifinal: Tuesday, July 2, 3 p.m. ET/9 p.m. local time | Stade de Lyon in Lyon
Final: Sunday, July 7, 11 a.m. ET/5 p.m. local time | Stade de Lyon in Lyon


If it finishes second in its group, and continues advancing …

Round of 16: Monday, June 24, 3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. local time | Parc des Princes in Paris
Quarterfinal: Saturday, June 29, 12:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. local time | Roazhon Park in Rennes
Semifinal: Wednesday, July 3, 3 p.m. ET/9 p.m. local time | Stade de Lyon in Lyon
Final: Sunday, July 7, 11 a.m. ET/5 p.m. local time | Stade de Lyon in Lyon


For those having trouble viewing the schedule shell, here it is in full:

Why Group F brought an unfavorable draw for the U.S.

The U.S. will undoubtedly get out of its group. That would have been the case regardless of opponents. The foursome isn’t what’s important. What’s important is knockout-round alignment. And Group F, as explained prior to the draw, was one of two worst-case scenarios.

If the U.S. wins Group F, and if France wins Group A – both likely outcomes – the two best teams in the world will be one knockout-round win away from a showdown in Paris that could serve as a de facto World Cup final two rounds too early.

That’s not great for the U.S. It’s not great for France. It’s not great for FIFA, which would have preferred to save that matchup for the final. But it would be quite the spectacle.

USWNT’s knockout round path

If the U.S. tops Group F, here’s what its road to the final looks like:

Round of 16: Group B runner-up – likely Spain or China
Quarterfinal: Group A winner – likely France – or third-place team
Semifinal: Group D winner (England? Japan?) or runner-up from Group A or C (Brazil? Norway?)

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Henry Bushnell is a features writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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