This is not the way successful American football players imagined: at the start of the Olympic football tournament, the 2019 world champions lost to Sweden 0: 3 (0: 1). The goals for the 2016 Olympic runners-up were scored by Stina Blackstenius (24th and 54th) and Lena Hertig (72nd). It was the first defeat for American coach Vlatko Andonovsky in his nearly two-year tenure.
The United States, where many superstars such as Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Kristen Press were used, had major problems with pressure from Sweden. After a stellar performance, they can now feel that they are the most promising contenders for the gold medal.
The other two rivals in the preliminary round for both teams are Australia and New Zealand, the first two of the group qualify for the quarter-finals as well as the best two of three group thirds.
Canadian Drama Vs Japan
An early goal by Christine Sinclair (12th) and a draw by Mana Iwabuchi (84th) made for a 1–1 (1–0) tie between Canada and hosts Japan. Ten minutes into the second half, it turned dramatic: Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie LaBeau scored a penalty and was injured in action.
She had to be treated for minutes, but returned to the goal in tears – and immediately stopped the penalty. After a few minutes the pain intensified and the 34-year-old had to leave the field. It was not looking good when Iwabuchi (84th) equalized with substitute keeper Callen Sheridan.
Marta scores for Brazil, White for Great Britain
Brazil surprisingly won their first game 5–0 (2–0) against China. Besides the double goal scorers, Marta (9th and 74th), Debinha (22nd), Andresingh (80th penalty kick) and Beatriz (89th) met in the selection coached by Pia Sundage. It was the fifth Olympic football tournament in which Marta was able to score at least one goal – a goal she had never done before.
Like Marta in Brazil, it was the outstanding player in Great Britain who played a decisive role in the first breakthrough: top striker Ellen White scored both goals in 2–0 (1–0) against Chile (18th and 73rd).
big win in the beginning
Easy first win for Dutch women: the team won 10:3 (5:1) against an overwhelmed African representative from Zambia. Vivian Midema scored four goals for Oranje. Before her, only German Birgit Prinz had succeeded in the women’s Olympic tournament. Babra Bana scored all the goals for Zambia.