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U.S. Women's National Team learn group stage opponents in Rio Olympics

The USWNT will face New Zealand, Colombia, and 3rd-ranked France in the group stage.

The U.S. Women's National Team, which includes Seattle Reign FC players Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe, will open their quest for a fourth Olympic gold against New Zealand, currently ranked 16th in the world by FIFA. The other two teams in USA's Group G include France (#3) and Colombia (#24).

Group E will feature Brazil, China, Sweden, and South Africa, while Group F includes Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, and Germany.

The New Zealand match will take place August 3 in Belo Horizonte, located in southeast Brazil. The USWNT will then face France on August 6, also in Belo Horizonte. From there, the U.S. travel nearly 1,600 miles to Manaus to face Colombia on August 9.

Those who followed the 2014 World Cup in Brazil might remember Manaus, situated in the northwest corner of Brazil, for its humid, rainforest environment that claimed many victims. In fact, Portugal was the only team that didn't lose after playing there. On average, August is the warmest, but driest, month in Manaus. The good news is the U.S. should have a pretty deep bench, with quality players who can bring fresh legs.

The top two teams in Group G will advance to the quarterfinals. Additionally, two of three third place finishers in group play will also move on. If the U.S. win Group G, they would face one of the third-place finishers. If they were to finish second in the group, they'd likely play Germany, ranked second in the world, in the quarterfinals.

Seattle Reign's Megan Rapinoe is currently recovering from an ACL tear suffered in December, but is progressing on schedule. At the moment, Jill Ellis has a spot to Rio open for Rapinoe, should she recover in time and be match-ready by August. However, with the U.S. only able to bring a squad of 18 to the Olympics, Rapinoe's chances are not likely.

The quarterfinal matches will take place August 12, followed by the semis on August 16. The medal matches will be August 19.

Similar to last year, given that it has players representing 8 of the 12 teams in the Olympics, the NWSL will take a break in August. No matches will be played between August 1 and August 26. However, countries like the U.S. will call up players throughout the season for friendlies and Olympic prep.

The Reign are one of the least affected teams this season. The Portland Thorns could have up to seven players gone at key points in the year.

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