Ex-Cal Star Alex Morgan, U.S. Face Sweden in Olympic Soccer Opener

Americans placed in group that also includes Australia and New Zealand
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Former Cal star Alex Morgan and her United States women’s national team teammates are grouped with Sweden, Australia and New Zealand in Group G of the Tokyo Olympics soccer tournament, it was announced Wednesday.

Despite having a layoff following the birth of her first child last May, Morgan is expected to be in the U.S. starting lineup for the Olympics. It was questionable whether she would have been able to participate if the Olympics had been held as scheduled last summer, but she appears ready a year later.

The Americans are currently ranked No. 1 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings while Sweden is fifth, Australia is ninth and New Zealand is 22nd.

The U.S. will open Group G play on July 21, two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, when it faces Sweden at Tokyo Stadium. The U.S. and Sweden played to a 1-1 draw in a friendly earlier this month in Sweden, but the Swedes upset the Americans in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, winning on penalty kicks. Sweden lost to Germany in the 2016 gold-medal game, but Germany did not qualify for this year's Olympics.

The Americans will play their second group match in Saitama, Japan, when they go up against New Zealand at Saitama Stadium on July 24.

The U.S. will complete group play on July 27 when they meet Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima, Japan.

Morgan was not in the starting lineup for the April 10 draw against Sweden, but she made her second start of 2021 and scored her second goal since becoming a mother in the Americans’ most recent match, a 2-0 victory over No. 3-ranked France on April 13.

She played a prominent role in that friendly against France, which was played in Le Havre, France. Morgan had her foot stepped on in the penalty box, leading to a penalty-kick goal by Megan Rapinoe for the first goal, and Morgan added a goal of her own later in the contest.

The loss ended France’s 16-game unbeaten streak. The Americans’ last defeat had come against France in Le Havre in January of 2019, but the Americans controlled the match this month, outshooting France 16-3.

Morgan played at Cal from 2007 to 2010 and led the Golden Bears to berths in the NCAA tournament four years in a row.

The groups for the 16-team men’s Olympic tournament were also announced, although the United States did not qualify for that event.

Women's Olympic draw

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Group E

Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Chile

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Group F

China, Brazil, Zambia, Netherlands

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Group G

Sweden, United States, Australia, New Zealand

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Cover photo of Alex Morgan (13) in a February match against Brazil is by Mike Watters, USA TODAY Sports

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