The groups for the Tokyo Olympics were drawn on thursday, and it was a tough draw for the two NZ teams.
The New Zealand women’s team, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics thanks to an impressive OFC Nations Cup performance in New Caledonia a little over two years ago.
But it will not be easy for them as the draw set up a trans-Tasman derby with Australia, as well as powerhouse, and gold medal favourites, USA and Rio 2016 finalists Sweden.
It will take a huge effort for the Football Ferns to get out of the group, but anything is possible at the Olympics.
Avoiding the big boys
For the men’s U23 side, it was a slightly easier draw, for what that is worth, as they managed to avoid any of the really big names.
Yet their group is still a tough one; with one of Asia’s best sides in South Korea, able to draw on overage players such as Heung-min Son of Tottenham, alongside U21 European Championship surprise package Romania.
Honduras, whom the U20 NZ team beat 5-0 at the U20 World Cup in 2019, is the last team in the group.
The draw looks a little kinder to the men’s side, but it is still a formidable task at hand for the junior All Whites. If they can bring the likes of Chris Wood as one of their overage players, however, that could help tip a potential knockout round appearance in their favour.
In the men’s competition, the top two teams go through, while the women also have the two best third placed teams move on to the knockout stage.
Men’s Olympic Football Tournament
Group A: Japan, South Africa, Mexico, France
Group B: New Zealand, Korea Republic, Honduras, Romania
Group C: Egypt, Spain, Argentina, Australia
Group D: Brazil, Germany, Côte d’Ivoire, Saudi Arabia
Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
Group E: Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Chile
Group F: China PR, Brazil, Zambia, Netherlands
Group G: Sweden, USA, Australia, New Zealand