Group E was the first of the women’s groups to kick off, and saw Sweden take on South Africa and later, hosts Brazil took on China in their first game. These fixtures resulted in wins for Brazil and Sweden, which was to be expected, as they both look set to qualify.
Sweden would have perhaps been a bit surprised by the South Africa they played in Rio. This fixture was played four years ago in Coventry during the London 2012, which saw Sweden win emphatically 4-1. This close score line was a credit to South Africa’s goalkeeper Roxanne Barker, who produced several saves during the match and was only beaten by a penalty area scramble.
Sweden failed to exploit the wings effectively during the first half, something they do need to sort out if they’re going to have a chance against Brazil, and perhaps didn’t take this game as seriously as they should have. Sweden desperately need to improve if they’re going to get anything from the next game against Brazil, and hopefully they’ll get a positive result against China.
South Africa will be happy with how they played in this game, though slightly frustrated that they couldn’t take the few chances they did have during the match. Defensively they were peppered with shots by Sweden, but didn’t have too much to worry about, which stands them in good stead for getting something out of the game against China.
Brazil comfortably beat China in the second group E game and made a strong claim on winning the group. Brazil dominated China in the opening moments; goals from Monica, Alves and Cristiane sealed the win against China.
Brazil dominated the game, having 20 shots with nine on target, and certainly made the most of their set pieces with goals from both a corner and a free kick, taking advantage of China’s lack of height. China failed to impress during this game, only totting up four shots with just one on target. This was an emphatic performance by Brazil and certainly means that a lot of pundits may reassess whether this team could go further than bronze.