[UNDER-20 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] The USA, the defending champion, will face first-time finalist Ghana, Switzerland (led by Atlanta Beat star Ramona Bachmann) and Asian runner-up South Korea in group play at the 2010 Under-20 Women’s World Cup, scheduled to be played July 13-Aug. 1 in Germany.
The USA will open against Ghana on July 14 before facing Switzerland on July 17. Both games will be played at the newly built 27,000-seat Rudolf-Harbig Stadium in Dresden, a venue for the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
The Americans will then travel to the recently renovated Bielefelder Alm Stadium in Bielefeld to conclude group play July 21 against the Koreans.
“I think it’s an exciting draw because these are teams that we haven’t played,” said U.S. U-20 coach Jill Ellis. “It’s a bit of an unknown. That sometimes can be a negative, but for us, it’s a positive because I think we will be very motivated. There are no preconceived thoughts about these opponents. We know we have to prepare well and focus on ourselves. They are all very different kinds of teams from different regions and represent different challenges and different strengths. It will require us to perform very well each game.”
The USA beat South Korea, 3-0, in group play at the 2004 Under-19 Women's World Cup in Thailand and 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Under-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.
Players on both teams in 2008 game should move up to their respective under-20 teams this year.
The USA will be led in Germany by U-20 holdover, Sydney Leroux, winner of the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe in Chile two years ago.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for us,” said Leroux. “We knew going into the draw that every team we play is going to bring their best game against us, and that’s never going to change. I like the teams we got because it’s going to be a challenge and as a team we are definitely up for a challenge.”
Group A: Germany, Costa Rica, Colombia, France
Group B: Brazil, North Korea, Sweden, New Zealand
Group C: England, Nigeria, Mexico, Japan
Group D: USA, Ghana, Switzerland, South Korea
Venues: Augsburg, Bielefeld, Bochum, Dresden.