USMNT U23’s to face Thierry Henry’s France in opening game of Olympics

PARIS — Hosts France will play the United States to kick off the men's soccer tournament at the Paris 2024 Olympics after the two teams were drawn together on Wednesday.

The game will be played in Marseille on July 24, two days before the opening ceremony in Paris. New Zealand and the winner of a playoff between an Asian team and Guinea complete Group A.

USMNT Olympics group

USMNT Olympics schedule

July 24: USA vs. France | 3 p.m. ET | Marseille 

July 27: USA vs. AFC/CAF playoff winner | 1 p.m. ET | Marseille 

July 30: USA vs. New Zealand | 1 p.m. ET | Saint-Etienne 

U.S. head coach Marko Mitrovic told reporters that he sees France as just another opponent in the group but is expecting a sizzling atmosphere.

"When you play against the host team it is a little bit of a different experience because we are playing the first game against them, it's in Marseille, I assume it will be a sold-out stadium with 70,000 people.

"But it is what it is. We see them as all other teams in our group, as our opponents, and we will try to do our best."

Argentina, who won the title in 2004 and 2008, were drawn with Morocco, Ukraine and a yet-to-be-determined Asian qualifier in Group B.

Two-times defending champions Brazil will not take part in the men's tournament after failing to qualify.

"The Olympics... my dad would wake me up at night to watch Carl Lewis... I cried when we did not qualify, even if I had won the World Cup before," France's 1998 World Cup winner Thierry Henry, now coach of the Under-23 team who will play the tournament, said at the draw ceremony.

"We haven't won it in 40 years. It's not easy, but we will try everything."

France won the title in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Henry's team have a friendly against the U.S. scheduled on Monday.

“We didn’t have a preference (for the draw), the first goal is to get through the group phase and see what happens on the other side,” Henry added.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

Videos you might like