U.S. women arrive in England looking to defend Olympic gold

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The U.S. women's national team has touched down in England ready to defend its Olympic gold medal.

The 2008 Olympic tournament champions arrived Wednesday to begin preparations for the upcoming Olympic tournament, which begins later this month. The U.S. women will train in Middlesbrough for six days before venturing to Glasgow, Scotland, to get acclimated for a week before the July 25 Olympic opener against France at Hampden Park.

From there, the U.S. women will play Colombia at the same venue on July 28 before wrapping up group play against North Korea on July 31 at Old Trafford.

For the U.S. women, it's the gold medal game or bust — at least as history dictates it. The United States has never failed to reach the gold medal game since women's soccer became an Olympic sport in 1996, taking gold as the host in 1996, again in 2004 in Greece and in 2008 in China. The U.S. women settled for silver in 2000 in Australia. Experience is on the United States' side, as captain Christie Rampone has been a part of the last three Olympic teams, while Shannon Boxx, Heather Mitts and Heather O'Reilly have been a part of the last two.

Eleven of the 18 players who made the trip to England were on the 2008 team that defeated Brazil 1-0 in the final match to capture the gold. Here's a look at the roster that traveled to England and the rest of the women's Olympic field:

U.S. WOMEN'S OLYMPIC ROSTER (2008 Olympians in bold)

GOALKEEPERS: Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo 

DEFENDERS: Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelley O’Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn 

MIDFIELDERS: Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe 

FORWARDS: Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach

ALTERNATES: Lori Lindsey, Jill Loyden, Meghan Klingenberg, Christen Press

WOMEN'S OLYMPIC TOURNAMENT FIELD (Top two in each group and two best third-place finishers advance to quarterfinals)

GROUP E

Team Great Britain

Brazil

Cameroon

New Zealand

GROUP F

Japan

Sweden

Canada

South Africa

GROUP G

United States

France

Colombia

North Korea

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What are your expectations for the U.S. women's national team? Which player do you think is primed for a breakout tournament? Do you think the U.S. women will capture the gold for a third straight time?

Share your thoughts below.

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6 Responses to U.S. women arrive in England looking to defend Olympic gold

  1. Dope Solo says:

    Hey guys

  2. BSU SC says:

    Not to get off the subject, but Abby Wambach is in the 2012 ESPN Magazine Bodies Issue. Very impressive physique.

    link to espn.go.com

  3. Raymon says:

    Thank you, North Korea, for the entertainment value. I wonder if they will have actors pose as fans this time again.

  4. Old School says:

    Helloooooooooo laaaaaaaadies

  5. Luis F says:

    No Ali Krieger? Supposedly she has a knee injury… I’ll miss her.

  6. soccerroo says:

    I think they should win but it will depend on how well Brazil and Japan are playing. I was suprised not to see Norway in the tournament.