While the US Women’s National Team heads to London ranked no. 1 by FIFA, they will not see an easy road to the gold medal match. Grouped up with France, Colombia and South Korea in Group G. The unusual format of three groups of four teams makes for unpredictable results, as all but the last team in each group will advance for a chance at gold.
Earlier this year, USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage tried new formations with young phenom Alex Morgan (23) up front alongside veteran forward Abby Wambach. Maybe they don’t have all the details worked out, but they showed impressive chemistry in the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, putting up 10 goals between the two of them, with two each in the final against Canada.
That tournament featured all the current olympic squad except for Sydney Leroux, a young (22) and very talented forward who scored five goals in the qualifying match against Guatemala. Add in the veterans that are the backbone of the Women’s team from the last decade, like captain Christie Rampone, Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach, you have a pretty diverse set of talent.
Yet with one of the best teams through the modern era, it is notable that they did suffer a heartbreaking loss to Japan in last year’s 2011 Women’s World Cup. Star forward Homare Sawa who received the Ballon d’Or for her stellar performance in that tournament. Other notable athletes in the Olympic tournament include Brazil’s Marta, with 78 goals in 71 caps.
The US Ladies kick off against France on Wednesday, July 25th at 9AM PDT. Watch out for the French phenom Louisa Necib. She led her team to the semifinals in the 2011 World Cup, and at only 25 years old, has been called the female Zinedine Zidane. With two back to back UEFA Champions League titles with her team Lyon, she’ll have a chance to impact her team and lead them to the gold medal match.