Source: U.S. Soccer Communications
PARIS, France (Dec. 2018) - The U.S. Women's National Team will face Thailand, Chile and Sweden in Group F at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, taking place from June 7-July 7 at nine venues in France. The Final Draw took place today at the Le Seine Musicale, a music and performance arts center in the suburbs of Paris.
After the Draw, U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis and a handful of players gave their thoughts on the USA's group, which contains Thailand, Chile and Sweden. Their remarks are collected below.
U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis
On the USA's Group F opponents:
"It's a good group in terms having three different teams, a European team, Asia and South America. In our opening game we have Thailand, who we've played once, and I like playing teams that we haven't played a lot. Then obviously we have a familiar foe in Sweden. So, it's a good group and I'm excited to get this thing started."
On the pressure of coming into the tournament as reigning champions:
"It comes with the territory. The history of this program, the players grow up in it, so for myself and the players, the expectation is the demand for your best. For us it's an opportunity to go out and test ourselves against the best teams in the world, and our players thrive in that environment."
On the recent growth and change in the world of women's soccer:
"If you compare this Draw to the last one, and nothing against Canada who did phenomenal job, but it's got a great vibe around it. It really feels like it's bigger and that is reflective of where our sport is. You always want to push forward because you don't want to settle, so I think in terms of growth of the game, this World Cup is going to be fantastic."
On the pressure of carrying the world's No. 1 ranking:
"I always say the home country has the most pressure on them. We're going forward looking to attack the World Cup, so our players are just relishing that challenge. We have a great balance: players who have been there and seen it and know what it takes, and players that are new to their first World Cup potentially. All the players are hungry and ready for the experience. So, it's a really good position for us."
On how much more challenging and competitive the tournament is becoming:
"Every group is going to face their challenges and women's soccer in general is improving so much. All the Federations have really put more into their programs so every year it gets more and more competitive, and more fun and more exciting. These games are going to be unbelievable and no one's going to take any game lightly. This tournament is going to be fun."
U.S. WNT Forward Carli Lloyd
Overall thoughts on the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final Draw:
"I'm very excited. It's a positive that in the past two years we have played all these teams so we're going into it knowing we've played them before and we have an idea of their style of play. I think just watching the Draw you get that surreal feeling of this being 2019, something we've been talking about really since 2015, but that also makes it really exciting."
On facing Sweden again at the FIFA Women's World Cup:
"I just knew they were going to be in our group. I think obviously, looking back to the last big tournament, we have that bad taste in our mouth from the last time we played them. For us, it's even more motivation. People say 'Oh, they're World Cup champions' but people forget that the Olympics was the most recent tournament. It was a difficult game and we didn't want to get out when we did, so I think having Sweden in our group adds the challenge."
U.S. WNT Midfielder Lindsey Horan
On finally learning the team's opponents and playing against Sweden:
"First off, I'm very excited the draw has finally been made, it makes everything so real. I'm really looking forward to playing Sweden again. I think they're always a tough matchup and two of my best friends play for Sweden so it's pretty special for me."
On returning to Paris:
"Of course, if I make the team, playing in Paris would be surreal for me. I might actually start crying getting back to where it all started for me."