The U.S. women’s national soccer team will begin defense of its world title next summer with group matches against Sweden, Thailand and Chile - a favorable draw for the top-ranked Americans.
In the Women's World Cup draw conducted by FIFA on Saturday near Paris, the Americans were placed in Group F. They will face No. 29 Thailand on June 11 in Reims, No. 38 Chile on June 16 in Paris and No. 9 Sweden on June 20 in Le Havre.
This marks the fifth consecutive World Cup in which the United States and Sweden will clash. They also faced one another in the 2016 Olympics.
"I am pumped, so excited," U.S. defender Kelley O'Hara said. "It's nice to finally know who are competition will be in those first three games. We can start to prepare and envision who will be on the other side of the field."
If, as expected, the United States wins the group, it would play the Group E runner-up - probably Canada or the Netherlands - June 24 in Paris. Another victory would probably set up a showdown with second-ranked Germany in the quarterfinals in Rennes.
The other top seeds are Germany, No, 3 France, No. 4 England, No. 5 Canada and No. 6 Australia.
Jill Ellis' squad is undefeated in 28 consecutive matches (25-0-3) since August 2017 and will seek to win the trophy for the fourth time since the tournament was launched in 1991.
Asked whether the Americans should be considered the favorites, O'Hara said: "I would never put 'favorites' on us, but we do hold ourselves in a very high standard and expectation. Yeah, we want to win. Who doesn't want to win the World Cup? Being the defending champions, I absolutely want to go back to back."
The tournament opener is June 7 in Paris between France and South Korea.
WORLD CUP GROUP BREAKDOWN
Group breakdown, with rankings:
Group A: France (3), South Korea (14), Norway (13), Nigeria (39). Ranking total: 69.
Group B: Germany (2), China (15), Spain (12), South Africa (48). Ranking total: 77.
Group C: Australia (6), Italy (16), Brazil (10), Jamaica (53). Ranking total: 85.
Group D: England (4), Scotland (20), Argentina (36), Japan (8). Ranking total: 68.
Group E: Canada (5), Cameroon (46), New Zealand (19), Netherlands (7). Ranking total: 77.
Group F: United States (1), Thailand (29), Chile (38), Sweden (9). Ranking total: 77.