Women's World Cup draw:
Group A. France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria.
Group B. Germany, China, Spain, South Africa.
Group C. Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica.
Group D. England, Scotland, Japan, Argentina.
Group E. Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands.
Group F. USA, Thailand, Chile, Sweden.
The Swedish game will be a rematch of the 2016 Olympic quarterfinal in which the Swedes beat the USA in a shootout. Sweden also handed the USA its last defeat in the Women's World Cup, winning, 2-1, in 2011. They played to a 0-0 tie in the second game of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. The USA and Sweden also met in 1991, 2003 and 2007 and the USA won each time in the group stage.
The Women's World Cup simply doesn't yet have the depth that the men's tournament has, and with a couple exceptions -- Italy in Pot 3 and Nigeria in Pot 4 -- few potential opponents from the lower half of the field would trouble the USA. Compared to Australia, Nigeria and Sweden four years ago, Thailand, Chile and Sweden will be a piece of cake.
The match of the tournament could be France-USA at the Parc des Princes in Paris. The hosts received a much tougher draw -- South Korea, Norway and Nigeria in Group A -- but they will play the USA in the quarterfinals if both teams win their groups and round-of-16 matches. Already, FIFA has rescheduled the kickoff time of the game back to 6 p.m. local time (noon ET) to accommodate Fox Sports' U.S. viewing desires.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis abhors discussion of the USA's status as defending champion.
"It comes with the territory," she said after the draw. "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."
Ellis said the pressure will be on France as the host country (and a team that has historically underperformed).
"I always say the home country has the most pressure on them," she said. "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."
Thailand (June 11 in Reims).
FIFA Ranking: 29.
Qualifying: Fourth in AFC Women's Cup.
World Cup History: One appearance (2015: 17th).
U.S. Series: USA leads 1-0-0.
Chile (June 16 in Paris).
FIFA Ranking: 38.
Qualifying: Second in Copa America Femenina.
World Cup History: No appearance.
U.S. Series: USA leads 2-0-0.
Sweden (June 20 in Le Havre).
FIFA Ranking: 38.
Qualifying: First in UEFA Group 4.
World Cup History: Seven appearances (1991: 3rd; 1995: 5th; 1999: 6th; 2003: Runners-Up; 2007: 10th; 2011: 3rd; 2015: 16th).
U.S. Series: USA leads 21-6-11.