The Olympic’s opening ceremony isn’t for a few days, but the football kicks off tonight as the first round of the women’s games take place across Brazil. Featuring three groups of four teams, there are a number of big match-ups coming our way, and as the first game is only just around the corner, Real Sport is giving you five things to look out for.
Marta’s goal tally
Marta is the 30-year-old forward for Brazil, who currently plies her trade for Swedish team FC Rosengård. Marta’s goal scoring record is unbelievable at international level, currently she has played 101 games, and scored 100 goals, so will be desperate to push her record over the line during this tournament. Her first chance is against China, who are currently in a period of decline within women’s football.
Zimbabwe’s unknown qualities
Zimbabwe are making their first ever international tournament appearance this year by qualifying for the Olympics. Currently ranked 95th in the world, the team are an unknown quality with the entire team playing within their own nation’s domestic league. Whilst it is unlikely that they will set the world alight, they certainly will be a wild card within their group stage.
USA’s chance of history
The USA are attempting to be the first team to win a world cup and an Olympic gold in back-to-back years, and judging by their dominance in Canada last summer, you can imagine that they stand a very good chance. Late tonight they play New Zealand with superstars such as Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo likely to be making their last international appearances, this team is certainly one to watch.
France’s tactical nous
France have without a doubt the most tactically organised team at the Olympics, and it would certainly be worth keeping an eye out for their experienced spine of Laura Georges, Camille Abily and Louisa Nécib who have a combined for 460 appearances international caps. However, with an average age of 30, this may be the spines last chance to shine on the big stage, and make amends for losing on penalties to Germany in the World Cup last year.
Colombia’s injury woes
Colombia had a good performance in Canada last year, losing to eventual winners the USA, and would hope that they could emulate the men’s national team at a Brazilian hosted football tournament. However, their squad has been hit heavily with injuries and it’ll certainly be interesting to see how they perform in this tournament because of them.
Is there anything you’re looking out for? Let me know in the comments below.