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Groups finalized for Paris Olympics soccer tournaments

Rick Madonik / Toronto Star / Getty

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The United States women's national team was pitted against Germany and Australia in Wednesday's draw for the women's and men's soccer tournaments at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The USWNT, led by new coach Emma Hayes, will be chasing a record-extending fifth Olympic gold.

Canada, which triumphed at the previous Games in Tokyo, will begin its title defense against New Zealand before meetings with host France and Colombia round out its group fixtures. Spain, the reigning Women's World Cup champion, will face Brazil, Japan, and an undetermined African qualifier in its first-ever matches at an Olympic women's soccer tournament.

In the men's draw, the United States was handed the daunting task of opening its campaign against France. The host nation will be coached by French icon Thierry Henry and could include explosive forward Kylian Mbappe in its ranks. The men's tournament is restricted to under-23 players, with the exception of three overage inclusions. Mbappe is 25.

Argentina boss Javier Mascherano has expressed his wish to include his former international teammates Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria in his Paris 2024 roster. Argentina has Morocco, Ukraine, and an Asian qualifier in its quartet.

Women's tournament

Group A: France, Colombia, Canada, New Zealand

Group B: United States, Second African qualifier, Germany, Australia

Group C: Spain, Japan, First African qualifier, Brazil

The two remaining tournament berths will be decided during the final round of African qualifiers at the beginning of April. Two-legged playoffs - featuring Nigeria versus South Africa and Morocco against Zambia - will determine which nations secure the final tickets to Paris.

Once the women's tournament begins on July 25, the top two teams in each group and the two best third-placed finishers will advance to the knockout stages. Each game beginning in the quarterfinal stage is single elimination.

The gold-medal match is slated for Aug. 10 at the Parc des Princes in Paris, one day after the bronze medal is handed out in Lyon.

Men's tournament

Group A: France, United States, Asian/African playoff winner, New Zealand

Group B: Argentina, Morocco, Third Asian qualifier, Ukraine

Group C: Second Asian qualifier, Spain, Egypt, Dominican Republic

Group D: First Asian qualifier, Paraguay, Mali, Israel

Four tournament berths are yet to be decided. Three of them will be claimed through the U23 Asian Cup, which runs from April 15 to May 3 in Qatar; the top three finishers in that tournament qualify automatically for the Paris Olympics. The fourth-placed team, meanwhile, will enter a playoff against Guinea for the last available spot.

The Olympic tournament begins on July 24.

The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals of the competition. Like the women's event, the knockout stage is comprised of single-elimination games.

The gold medal will be awarded on Aug. 9 at the Parc des Princes, home of Paris Saint-Germain. The bronze-medal match takes place one day earlier at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes.

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