Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
All 12 teams in the women’s category were in action on the opening day of football action at the Summer Games.
A number of records tumbled on the first day of women’s football at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Tokyo Olympics had to wait just 17 minutes to get its first goal. Brazilian pair Formiga and Marta created exclusive Olympics records. The United States Women’s team’s long unbeaten streak fell flat while the Netherlands’ game against Zambia saw a flurry of goals.
Brazil, Australia and Great Britain registered expected victories while the Netherlands thumped Zambia a margin of seven goals. However, Sweden’s 3-0 victory over USWNT caught many eyes, as the Scandinavians did it again after edging past the United States in Rio 2016 quarter-finals. On the other, despite a close and entertaining contest, hosts Japan could only secure a draw against Canada.
Let’s take a look at all the action from the opening day of women’s football at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Ellen White inspires Great Britain to a winning start
Great Britain made a winning start to their Olympics 2020 campaign after beating Chile 2-0, courtesy of a wonderful brace from Manchester City forward Ellen White. White’s four-game goal drought from London Olympics 2012 finally ended on the opening day at Tokyo. She scored from close range after a congested sequence inside the Chilean box put the ball at her feat.
White sealed the game with an acrobatic effort, from a delivery by Lucy Bronze from the right. Fran Kirby’s last-minute absence meant all eyes were on White’s performance and it’s fair to say she delivered when it mattered the most.
Great Britain dominated Chile on every front possible. They enjoyed 60% ball possession and attempted 15 shots. The score line was only down to 2-0 due to Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler’s heroic efforts. Great Britain’s transitions were fluid and they posed a threat every time they marched towards the opponent’s half. With this triumphant beginning, GB now sits on the top of Group E.
Marta rises to the occasion yet again as Brazil start strong
For more than a decade, Marta has been Brazil’s – and perhaps the world’s – most influential female footballer. On a night that saw Brazil thump China 5-0, Marta scored a brace. With her double at Tokyo 2020, Marta also became the first player, male or female, to score in five consecutive editions of the Olympics.
China’s defensive woes were exploited by Beatriz and Marta right from the off-set. The Brazilian forwards found spaces to get behind quite easily and scored early to maintain the dominance. Goals from Marta and Debinha in the 9th and the 22nd minute saw Brazil take a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Despite looking relatively composed in the second half, China’s problems only grew when Marta scored in the 74th minute before Andressa Alves and Beatriz increased the margin of victory.
Sweden Women stun USWNT yet again
Sweden picked things up from where they had left off at the Rio Olympics with a convincing 3-0 win. After stunning the World Champions in the quarter-finals five years ago, Sweden were lethal on a night where everything went wrong for the opposition. Stina Blackstenius’ brace and Lina Hurtig’s 72nd-minute strike took the Swedes to a comfortable win in their opening game.
Despite making offensive changes, most notably Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan, USWNT could not disrupt the opposition defence. The star-studded side could not control the tempo either. Sweden added a third in no time to seal the game. With a shock defeat in their opening fixture, the USA will hope for redemption when they play New Zealand in their next fixture.
Japan score late to deny Canada a winning start
Arsenal’s new signing Mana Iwabuchi scored in the 84th minute as Japan Women held Canada Women to a 1-1 draw in the second Group-E kickoff on Tokyo Olympics 2020. After Christine Sinclair opened the scoring in the sixth minute, it seemed to be a tipping balance.
Having had a penalty saved, Japan looked to intensify to complement their impressive pre-Olympic run. Canada’s shot-stopper Stephanie Labbe left the field due to an injury immediately after denying Mina Tanaka from the spot. Labbe suffered a knock in the sequence that led to Japan’s penalty. Despite dominating the possession and looking to be the more composed out of the two sides, Canada could not hold on to their lead for the whole match.
Miedema, Martens star in Netherlands’ thumping of Zambia
Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens starred for the Netherlands as they cruised past Zambia with a humongous 10-3 scoreline. Before being taken off, Miedema scored four within the hour mark. Martens, on the other hand, completed her brace in the first half.
Shanice Van de Sanden and Jill Rood also scored a goal each in Oranje’s dominating showcase. Lineth Beerensteyn, replacing Arsenal starlet Miedema, scored the side’s ninth as Victoria Pelova made it 10-1 in the 80th minute.
Despite Barbara Banda making it 3-1 in the 19th minute, things only took a turn for the worse for Zambia. Banda added two within two minutes later in the second half to make it 10-3 for the side in their Tokyo Olympics opener.
Australia register a Kerr-inspired win against New Zealand
Samantha Kerr scored one and assisted another as Australia beat New Zealand 2-1 in their Tokyo Olympics opener. Gabi Rennie’s last-minute goal after coming on in the 89th minute wasn’t enough for New Zealand, who conceded two in the opening half itself.
Chelsea star Kerr proved too difficult to handle for New Zealand’s three-man defence. Chances kept flowing for the Matildas in the second half. Australia registered eight shots on target compared to New Zealand’s one. They also dominated the ball with 60% possession.
In an already fiery attack, Kerr’s operation added flair and promise for the rest of the tournament. Australia currently sit at second in Group G behind Sweden on goal difference. They will face Sweden next, while New Zealand meet the USWNT in their next match at Tokyo Olympics.