(CBS Local)- The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has been the dominant force in Olympics soccer since the women’s tournament began at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. The U.S. has taken home gold in four of the six tournaments, and finished in silver medal position in Sydney in 2000. Their lone medal-less appearance? At the last Olympics in Rio in 2016.
Jill Ellis’ team put that stunning fifth place finish behind them by winning the World Cup in 2019 and producing a 70 win, seven draw and four loss record in the years spanning 2017-21. Their last loss came in January of 2019 in a friendly against France (3-1).
With Vlatko Andonovski in charge now, the U.S. side has been rolling in 2021, winning 11 of their 12 matches, with the lone tie coming against Sweden. The Olympics roster was dominant in a pair of send-off games against Mexico in the last week winning 4-0 in both matches. Now, the squad prepares for the Olympics with a date against the last team to tie them and the one that knocked them out of the last Olympics: Sweden.
The Swedes, ranked 5th in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, are part of a difficult Group G slate for the USWNT which includes New Zealand (22nd) and Australia (9th). The women begin play on Wednesday, July 21st with an early (4:30 a.m. EDT) start time for fans. The full schedule for the group stage is as follows.
Wednesday, July 21 vs. Sweden (5th FIFA World Ranking) 4:30 a.m. EDT
Saturday, July 24 vs. New Zealand (22nd FIFA World Ranking) 7:30 a.m. EDT
Tuesday, July 27 vs. Australia (9th FIFA World Ranking) 4:00 a.m. EDT
How To Watch
NBC has listed the channels for the group stage matches, here is where fans can tune in to watch the USWNT.
7/21 vs. Sweden (USA Network)
7/24 vs. New Zealand (NBC Sports Network)
7/27 vs. Australia (USA Network)
Potential Knockout Stage Scenarios
After the group stage, if the U.S. advance as expected, the knockout stage begins. The path to a gold medal could go a couple of different routes. If the Americans win their group, they would face one of the third place teams from either Group E or F.
If they finish as runner up, they would face the winner of Group F which features the Netherlands (4th), Brazil (7th) and China (15th). And, in a worst case scenario, they could finish third in Group G and, depending on how the tiebreakers fall, get through to the knockout stage and face the winner of Group E which has England (6th), Canada (8th) and Japan (10th).
The Americans enter the tournament as favorites (+100) to win the tournament.