Canadian soccer women get Germany, Australia in tough Olympic draw
Canada will also face No. 95 Zimbabwe in Group F
If the Canadian women's soccer team is to repeat as an Olympic medallist in Rio, it'll need to go through a tough road.
The Canadians find themselves in Group F with Germany, Australia and Zimbabwe after the Olympic draw was announced Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.
The Germans are ranked No. 2 in the world, Australia No. 5, while Zimbabwe is ranked 95th.
"It's a tough draw for Canada, but this is the Olympics so there was never going to be an easy passage," said CBC Sports soccer analyst Nigel Reed. "They key to qualification will be the result against Australia — a win for Canada would go a long way to advancing from the group stages."
Canada opens its tournament against Australia on Aug. 3 at Sao Paulo's Itaquera Arena.
The Canadians earned a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Host Brazil is in Group E with China, Sweden and South Africa. The defending Olympic champion Americans are in Group G with New Zealand, France and Colombia.
The top two teams in each group, plus the two best third-place teams advance to the quarter-finals.
The women's tournament run through to Aug. 19.
Team Canada coach John Herdman knows his squad is in tough because of how the sport has development stronger nations over the last few years. Still, he's confident in his Canadian players.
"We will have to be at our best in every match to progress," Herdman said in a statement. "It will be about producing personal bests, with our young and veteran players pushing every day. They will be incredible matches. Anyone who has watched us play against Brazil knows that they are the most-fiercely competitive matches. The fans are going to love it."
The draw for both the men's and women's fields was held at the historic Maracanã stadium.
- Canada vs. Australia, Sao Paulo (2 p.m. ET)
- Zimbabwe vs. Germany, Sao Paulo (5 p.m. ET)
- Canada vs. Zimbabwe, Sao Paulo (2 p.m. ET)
- Germany vs. Australia, Sao Paulo (5 p.m. ET)
- Zimbabwe vs. Australia, Salvador (3 p.m. ET)
- Germany vs. Canada, Brasilia (3 p.m. ET)
- Sweden vs. South Africa, Rio de Janeiro (Noon p.m. ET)
- Brazil vs. China, Rio de Janeiro (3 p.m. ET)
- South Africa vs. China, Rio de Janeiro (6 p.m. ET)
- Brazil vs. Sweden, Rio de Janeiro (9 p.m. ET)
- South Africa vs. Brazil, Manaus (8 p.m. ET)
- China vs. Sweden, Brasilia (9 p.m. ET)
- USA vs. New Zealand, Belo Herizonte (6 p.m. ET)
- France vs. Colombia, Belo Herizonte (9 p.m. ET)
- USA vs. France, Belo Herizonte (4 p.m. ET)
- Colombia vs. New Zealand (7 p.m. ET)
- Colombia vs. USA, Manaus (5 p.m. ET)
- New Zealand vs. France, Salvador (6 p.m. ET)
Brazilian men open against South Africa
The Brazilian men will face South Africa in the opening game of the men's Olympic soccer tournament as the five-time World Cup champions try for their first gold medal.
Brazil lost to Mexico in the Olympic final four years ago in London.
The match is set for Aug. 4 in Brasilia, a day before the Olympics officially open in Rio de Janeiro. Iraq and Denmark are also in the group. Defending champion Mexico was put in a group with South Korea, Fiji and Germany.
With files from The Canadian Press