As previously announced, the USA will face Sweden on April 10 (FOX at 1 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. local) at Friends Arena in Stockholm. The USA will then travel to France, which is currently third in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. Sweden is ranked fifth. There will be no fans allowed at either match.
This will be the first meeting with France since the epic quarterfinal clash at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Paris, a 2-1 triumph for USA at Parc des Princes that featured two Megan Rapinoe goals.
Stade Océane is a familiar venue for the U.S. women as the team played there in January of 2019 against France, a 3-1 loss, and in its third match of 2019 World Cup group play in June of 2019, a 2-0 win against Sweden.
After five wins to start 2021 so far, these will be the first away games this year and mark a relatively quick return to Europe for the U.S. women who defeated the Netherlands, 2-0, in Breda last November.
“We feel really fortunate to be able to get these two games during the April match window,” said U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “Playing France in France is one of the most difficult games we could schedule and that’s exactly what we are looking for in the lead up to the Olympics. They have top class players at every position, play an exciting style and will certainly be highly motivated. They will present a lot of challenges that we will have to overcome both defensively and in the attack.”
The USA has played France 24 times, but only five times in France, and one of those games was in 1991 and another took place in 1995. The three most recent meetings in France produced two France wins, 2-0 in Lorient in February of 2015 and 3-1 in Le Havre in January of 2019, and one U.S. victory, that coming at the World Cup.
As was the case during all U.S. Soccer activity during the pandemic, the U.S. players and staff will operate inside highly controlled environments at the team hotels in Sweden and France. The staging of the training and the matches will fall under the comprehensiveU.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelinesand in accordance with the UEFA Return to Play Protocols, with stringent collaboration with the Sweden Football Association and the France Football Federation. The U.S. delegation has received an exemption from quarantine provided to professional sports organizations. Everyone entering the environment will be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, upon arrival and every two days thereafter. The USA will not begin full team training in Europe until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed.
Currently ranked No. 3 in the FIFA World Rankings, France will be the fourth opponent Top-10 opponent the USA has faced in 2021. The USA faced Canada and Brazil, who were tied for No. 8 in the FIFA rankings, at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup and will take on fifth-ranked Sweden on April 10.
The USA is 18-3-3 all-time vs. France, but the most recent 10 games between the teams dating back to 2014 have seen the USA compile a 5-2-3 record.
France cruised through qualifying to earn its berth to the 2022 UEFA Women’s Championships, which will be staged in England, earning 22 points from seven wins and a draw while piling up a 44-0 goal difference.