U.S. to meet familiar foes at Women's World Cup

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage (second left) stands with the coaches of Sweden, Colombia and North Korea at the World Cup draw. (Frank Augstein/AP)

The United States has been drawn with North Korea, Colombia and Sweden for the group stage of the 2011 Women's World Cup, which will take place next summer in Germany.

The U.S. qualified for the World Cup by winning a two-leg playoff over Italy, 2-0 on aggregate. Philadelphia Independence forward Amy Rodriguez scored the winning goal in the second leg, a 1-0 win this past Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. You can watch a video of Rodriguez's goal at the bottom of the post.

Despite having had to play the playoff, the U.S. was one of the four seeded teams in the draw because of its high place in the FIFA world rankings. But the high seed did not prevent the U.S. from getting a tough group that includes longtime rivals North Korea and Sweden.

Both teams were in the U.S.' group in 2007 and 2003, and North Korea was in the U.S.' group in 1999. Sweden was in the U.S.' group at the first ever Women's World Cup in 1991.

Here is the draw in full. The seeded teams are listed first:

Group A:
Germany, Canada, Nigeria, France
Group B: Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, England
Group C: United States, North Korea, Colombia, Sweden
Group D: Brazil, Australia, Norway, Equatorial Guinea

Germany vs. Canada will be the opening match of the tournament, which will run from June 26 to July 17. The United States' first match will be against North Korea, which will be interesting for all the reasons you can think of.

The venues are Augsburg, Berlin, Bochm, Dresden, Frankfurt, Leverkusen, Moenchengladbach, Sinsheim and Wolfsburg. Berlin's famed Olympic Stadium will host the opening game, and the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt will host the championship game.