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Olympic football draw confirmed

The draws have been made for the Tokyo 2020 men’s and women’s football competitions, in a ceremony broadcast live at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. 

The OlyWhites were drawn alongside South Korea, Honduras and Romania in Group B, with the first match scheduled for July 22 against London 2012 bronze medallists South Korea.

Former All White Ryan Nelsen was an assistant for the draw ceremony and New Zealand coach Danny Hay said they were excited about playing at the Olympics.

“Firstly, I’m delighted to be talking about international football after the past year. The whole squad has been waiting for the opportunity to represent the country and are hugely excited about going to Japan to do so,” Hay said.

“There are no easy games in international football but it is fair to say we did manage to avoid some of the traditionally bigger nations, I probably owe Ryan a drink for that.

“We just can’t wait to get over there now and start playing to properly test ourselves and on the world stage.”

The Football Ferns were drawn alongside the USA, Sweden and Australia in Group G and will begin with a trans-Tasman clash against the Matildas at Tokyo Stadium on July 21.

“We are in a group with three other very strong teams, including the world champions [USA], but these are the opportunities we want to prove ourselves at the highest level,” Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni said.

“After not being able to play for the past year it is brilliant to finally have our opponents for Toyko 2020 confirmed and we couldn’t have picked a better first opponent in our FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 co-hosts Australia.

“The whole squad are now just enormously excited to get to Japan and get the competition underway.”

Courtesy of New Zealand Football

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