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USA to face the Netherlands, Japan and Nigeria in Olympic Tournament

The U.S. men’s Olympic soccer team will face Holland, Japan and Nigeria in this summer’s Olympic Games.

The draw, held early this morning, placed the Americans in a group with a tough Dutch squad and a Nigeria team with a strong collection of young players that will include key figures from the squad that reached the 2005 Under-20 World Cup final as well as the team that just won the 2007 Under-17 World Cup.

Not exactly an easy draw.

Here are all four groups:

  • USA, Netherlands, Nigeria, Japan
  • Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia, Australia,
  • Brazil, Belgium, China, New Zealand
  • Italy, Cameroon, South Korea, Honduras

What do you think of the match-ups? Do you like the U.S. team’s draw? Hate it? Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is not the time to talk about winning

    the group.

    Nigeria need to win the olympic soccer to

    get them focus on south africa 2010.

    Let’s go for it.

  2. Sorry but we are going to finish dead last. Just because this team can beat panama and draw cuba, doesn’t mean they even have a chance at playing with any of those other three teams.

    They are getting swept, 0-3 and probably will score one goal.

  3. Side note, gotta love how every tourney is rigged to place the host nation in the easiest draw, in this case along with Brazil because they’re the most popular. It just makes me question the ligitamacy of the whole seeding system, as it happens in every tourney. To get the desired result for your nation, seems like the other draws have to be well manipulated to your liking as well no?

  4. Wow, Brasil’s group probably has the two weakest soccer nations in the tournament: New Zealand and China. I’m guessing China was seeded because it was the host nation.

  5. Based on how our Olympic team has played so far, I think it’s definitely possible to win this group. All Nowak has to do is replace all of our players with better ones. 🙂

  6. Brazil got away with that because they are the darlings of the world. They are the NY Yankees, the Real Madrid, The LA Lakers, The Dallas Cowboys of the world…..the team everyone wants to see do great.

  7. Another thing to keep in mind is that our group and Argentina’s are matched up for the first knock out round. If the USA come in second they’ll most likely be playing Argentina in the first knockout round. Also on the last day of group play our group’s games are before those of Argentina’s group, so if we’re lucky enough to be in position to get through with a tie we might not know if that will help or hurt us. And I agree with everyone else. How the hell did Brazil get far and away the easiest group?

  8. US has a tough group. Netherlands and Nigeria are no pushover and Japan can surprise a team in any game. We are in the “Grupo de muerte”. I also think Argentina will have a tough time with Serbia and Ivery Coast (imagine if IC decides to take Drogba as their player over 23)and Australia is up and coming so absolutely another Grupo de muerte. Brazil always gets an easy draw. But hey if we are going to shock the world in a major FIFA tournament this is the time to do it, and in a tough draw.

  9. by far the toughest group… African teams are especially good at the youth level, they always excell in the olympics b/c of their attacking ability. Japan are no slouches either.. We will have to be at our very best to advance

  10. what in the hell is up with Brazil’s group? Why didn’t they just waive the group play for them and put them directly into knockouts. That’s a total joke. Argentina’s isn’t much harder but Brazil’s group is a joke.

    Our group is going to be tough. Thankfully the Dutch hate to defend and African teams tend to be undisciplined (especially at youth levels)

  11. Oh, and Japan is always one of those teams no one wants to play.

    They always seem to be very technical, quick, and hard-working.

    Scoring, however, is another thing.

  12. I agree with kpugs and aristotle. Why is it that anytime the US isn’t playing in a CONCACAF tournament, the team gets the shaft?

    Always in the top two toughest group.

    If the goal here is to win a medal, it’ll be tough in a group like this.

    And what’s with Brazil and Argentina’s group? For a chance at a medal, I’d rather be in that group than the one the US is in now.

    The Netherlands or Nigeria have a good chance of winning this group.

    The Netherlands should be the favorite with the US and Nigeria fighting for second.

  13. The US should qualify. Obviously, the Netherlands will be favored to advance (I’m tipping Drenthe to be the player of the tournament), but Nigeria and Japan are beatable. Both will have some technical ability, but will rely on the break.

    I’m not saying it’s an easy group, but given the young talent we have, along with our overage selections, we should be favorites for second.

    Here is hoping Jay-Jay Okocha gets an overage selection for Nigeria!

  14. Even though the groups look uneven, I’m sure there are some major surprises in store. It’s not like I wouldn’t want the US to line up against New Zealand or Belgium, but younger squads are sometimes more mercurial – hot one month, cold the next. Or hot as youth teams and flops at the senior level.

    Case in point: what country has been the most successful in the Olympics? Answer: Hungary, with 3 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze. After them? Great Britain, with three golds – but between 1900 and 1912. Then the Soviet Union with 2 golds and 3 bronze.

    Even over the past 20 years, many of the semifinalists are not exactly WC powerhouses, or at least haven’t reached the same heights in the WC of late: Chile, Iraq, Paraguay, Australia, Poland, and Yugoslavia are teams that have had their years but are not exactly powerhouses. Then there are underperformers like Spain, and countries that have not lived up to expecatations at senior level, like Cameroon, Nigeria, and Portugal.

    So, it looks like a tough group, but who can say? Maybe the US crumples like a sheet of scrap paper… but maybe Brazil or Italy does too, and Australia or Honduras comes into its own and reaches the final.

  15. Well I think its the hardest draw. But I believe it is winnable for our group. If we play right and bring our best we have a shot at winning the group.

  16. I hope The Netherlands changes their roster for the actual tournament because they definitely had Maduro, Drenthe and Babel. That’s a good attack and defense in just those 3 alone.

  17. Jmart,

    NBC (and its family of networks, MSNBC, Bravo, USA, etc.) has the broadcast rights of all Olympic competitions. I’m sure all of the US games, along with many of the marquee match-ups and knockout round games will be broadcast (likely taped delayed). NBC always has a comprehensive broadcast guide just before the Olympics that will layout when everything is on TV by event.

    And on the Netherlands, they dominated the U-21 Euro tournament in the summer. The big question for them is if Ryan Babel is released by Liverpool. Personally, I doubt it, especially if he plays in the Euros.

  18. Not a bad draw, and overall there isn’t a completely cupcake group. I think with the people we drew we are going to need as many technically strong players as possible. This means Alvarez and Rogers must be there on the wings. We also cannot afford to have people with no pace in the back. Hopefully we can bring in an overage player to help out in the back.

  19. Is there a reason the U.S. gets placed in the toughest group in FIFA competitions every time? (Alright, almost every time.)

  20. Just thinking about an Altidore/McBride strike tandem at the Olympics makes me smile. Make it happen Mr. Nowak.

    Anyone know if Rossi is on Team Italy?

  21. I’m not saying any Olympic group is “easy,” so to speak. But, relative to the OTHER groups, who the heck did CONMEBOL pay off to hook up Brazil and Argentina? As if those two teams need to have the weakest groups surrounding them.

  22. Japan shouldn’t be too hard.

    Young Nigeria teams are always good.

    And the Netherlands is the Netherlands. Not quite sure who is all in the squad, but regardless that NT is known for developing players so I am a bit worried.

  23. I like it. COnsidering the US’s poor draws for tournaments in the past, I like this. We knew we wouldn’t come out unscathed, and a challenge like the Netherlands should be good for us. I’m not too worried about japan, but Nigeria, if a fast as their MNT, could present problems in the back. At least no italy brazil china or argentina.

  24. It is a tough group but at least we’re avoiding the most definitive number ones (Italy, Brazil, Argentina) and the host China.


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