U.S. women receive tough World Cup draw

Ottawa, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - The draw for the 2015 Women's World Cup took place in Canada on Saturday and it saw the United States placed in maybe the toughest group along with Sweden, Australia and Nigeria.

The Americans were drawn into Group D, and with the field having been expanded from 16 to 24 teams for the 2015 tournament, it was expected the team would receive a fairly favorable draw.

However, Sweden will represent a big challenge in the group having already beaten the U.S. in the Algarve Cup this year, while Australia and Nigeria will both be playing the role of spoiler.

The hosts, Canada, find themselves in Group A along with China, New Zealand and the Netherlands, making the Canadians firm favorites to win their group.

Defending champions Japan were placed into Group C, where they should have little trouble navigating their way through Switzerland, Cameroon and Ecuador.

Germany will be big favorites to top Group B, although Norway should provide a bit of test, with Ivory Coast and Thailand both looking like outsiders.

Group E is expected to be won by Brazil, with Korea Republic, Spain and Costa Rica battling it out for second place.

The final group, Group F, contains France, which figures to be a serious contender to lift its first women's World Cup trophy. The French are joined in that group by European rivals England along with Colombia and Mexico.

Groups:

Group A Canada China New Zealand Netherlands

Group B Germany Ivory Coast Norway Thailand

Group C Japan Switzerland Cameroon Ecuador

Group D United States Australia Sweden Nigeria

Group E Brazil Korea Republic Spain Costa Rica

Group F France England Colombia Mexico