Early on Wednesday morning, the Canadian women's national team learned who they'll be up against in their bid to return to the podium at this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The tournament draw, which was conducted overnight at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, saw Canada (ranked eighth in the world in the latest FIFA women's rankings) drawn into Group E, alongside host nation Japan (ranked 11th), Great Britain (unranked, but England is sixth), and Chile (37th). Canada will open the tournament on July 21 against Japan in Sapporo. They'll take on Chile on July 24, also in Sapporo, before moving to play Great Britain on July 27 in Kashima. The tournament runs for just over two weeks, with the gold medal match taking place on August 6 in Tokyo. Since England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland compete together at the Olympics as Great Britain, Canada will be up against the core of the English national team that they beat in mid-April, as well as key players from the other three constituent nations.
RELATED READING: 4 selection questions facing CanWNT ahead of Tokyo 2020 || 3 takeaways from CanWNT’s two-match British camp
The remaining eight teams in the tournament were drawn into two other groups. Group F will feature the Netherlands (3), Brazil (7), China (14), and Zambia (104), while Group G will have the United States (1), Sweden (5), Australia (9), and New Zealand (22). Canada's last meeting with Japan was a friendly in 2019, which they lost 4-0. All-time, the Canadians have four wins, seven losses, and three draws against them. Les Rouges have only played the Great Britain side once at the Olympics, at London 2012, when Canada defeated the hosts 2-0 in the quarter-final. Of course, Canada's recent 2-0 win over England is also a decent measuring stick, since much of the Lionesses side will be on the British team. The Canadian women have played Chile just once before, losing a 1-0 contest in 2013. With 12 teams in the women's Olympic football tournament, the top two sides from each group will advance to the knockout stage, as will the two third-placed teams with the best records. All eight advancing teams will compete in a straight bracket from the quarter-final round. Canada has won bronze medals at two consecutive Games; most recently, at the 2016 tournament in Rio de Janeiro, they finished first in their group, and beat France in the quarter-finals before losing to Germany in the semi-final. Their defeat of host nation Brazil in the third-place match secured a podium finish for Les Rouges.