Rio 2016 Women’s Football Tournament Preview
The women’s football Olympics is a 12 team competition with three groups confusingly titled E-G, after the men’s groups take A-D. Never establishing itself as a headline event, the women’s competition does not limit the nations competing to just three over 23-year-old players, meaning that the tournament can showcase the same stars and squads that played in the World Cup a year ago.
The Women’s tournament sees three groups with four teams in each. The top two from each group qualify for the next round plus two of the best placed third teams, which means that just one win in any group could be enough to guarantee you a place in the knockout rounds. This is a good set-up as nearly all of the groups boast teams of equal talent and skill.
Group E starts us off with Brazil, China, Sweden and South Africa all facing off against each other. Brazil are clearly a favourite to get out of a very strong group with midfielder Marta, who has 92 goals in 95 appearances for the South American nation, in their team. China, who are currently in a period of decline within women’s football but did very well to beat World Cup finalists Japan to qualify for the tournament, will hope to take second place off of Sweden. The Swedes are looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance in Canada last year, which saw them thrashed 4-1 by Germany in the Round of 16. The group is rounded off by South Africa, who performed well in a friendly against the USA recently, proving that they can make the bigger sides pause to think before playing them.
Group F is perhaps the tightest group of the tournament, made up of Germany, Zimbabwe, Australia and Canada, nobody can guess who will sit in the top spot after their three games. Germany lost to eventual winners USA in the semi-final but beat France and Sweden, two very strong teams, in the knockout rounds before that. Canada lost narrowly to England in the quarter finals and Australia lost to eventual finalist Japan in 2015. All three are very strong teams and then there’s the unknown quality of Zimbabwe, who are making their debut in this tournament.
Finally, Group G brings with it the current world champions, USA, who are aiming to be the first side to win the World Cup and the Olympics in back-to-back years and are certainly going to make it deep into this competition. In their way is a tactically organised and a high quality French team, who were only prevented from reaching the semi-finals after a penalty shoot-out loss to Germany. Whilst New Zealand aren’t the strongest team, Colombia will hope to make some impact on the tournament, having taken the USA close in the World Cup last year. Unfortunately, this group would could have been more competitive but Colombia have suffered a lot of injuries and haven’t brought their strongest squad as a result.
Who do you think will make it out of the groups in the Women’s football, and will the USA manage to make history by getting the gold? Leave a comment down below and let me know.