New Zealand’s Football Ferns are ready to put it all on the line after being drawn in the ‘pool of death’ for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Ferns have been pulled in the toughest pool in the competition and will take on world champions USA, fifth-ranked Sweden and Trans-Tasman rivals Australia in Group G.
“Getting that draw was pretty intense. It’s got its challenges but with challenge comes opportunity so everyone’s excited about it,” said goalkeeper Anna Leat.
“It’s unreal to think we’ll be playing the world number ones and it’s just around the corner now. We’ve faced them before and the energy is full on, so that’ll be great to be a part of and to really challenge them.”
Leat says it’ll be a fantastic chance for the side to test itself against the best teams in the world.
“We’ll just be sticking to the game plan, personally I’ll be getting pretty hyped up, I love the big Games. As a team we’ll prepare as best we can and know that anything can happen on game day.”
The Ferns squad is currently spread across the world but Coach Tom Sermanni is hoping to have the majority of the team in New Zealand by the end of May.
“Everyone’s really eager to get back together, it’s been a long time since we’ve trained and played as a squad so it’ll be so great to get everyone back together into camp and then be full steam ahead to Tokyo,” said Leat.
Leat is still working towards Olympic selection, with the team to be named in June.
“I’ve not been to an Olympic Games before so it’d be a dream come true. It’s such a huge global event and with the state of the world right now it’ll be great to give fans something to look forward to and enjoy.”
The Fern's best result at the Olympic Games came at London 2012 when they reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by the USA.Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games