The women’s soccer tournament started a bit early in the 2016 Olympics, with the first games of the tournament kicking off on Wednesday, August 3rd. All twelve teams were in action yesterday as young teams sought to prove their worth and experienced veterans tried to hold onto their glory.
The tournament kicked off with Sweden vs. South Africa. Ranked 6th in the world, Sweden sought to prove their own worth as a top team on the international stage. South Africa, ranked at 52nd, are new to the international game. Making their Olympic debut, they managed to pull out a respectable 1-0 loss to their much more experienced opponents. The lone goal came from Swedish defender Nilla Fischer in the 74th minute.
The next game featured Canada vs. Australia. The game was a perfect start for the Canadian women, as Christine Sinclair found a perfect pass to Janine Beckie that led her to score in the first twenty seconds, the quickest goal in women’s soccer Olympic history. The second goal of the game came from Sinclair herself, giving Canada a commanding 2-0 win to start the tournament. Orlando Pride defenders Steph Catley and Laura Alleway were in action for Australia and Pride defender Josée Bélanger represented Canada.
The host nation Brazil opened their Olympic tournament against China. They started the tournament off strong, beating China 3-0 in front of a home crowd. The first goal was scored by Orlando Pride defender Monica Hickmann Alves in the 36th minute. Andressa Alves and Cristiane would follow with goals of their own in the second half.
The team ranked 2nd in the world, Germany, took on 93rd ranked Zimbabwe. Germany walked away with a dominant 6-1 win. The six goals for Germany were scored by four different German players, with one own goal coming off Zimbabwean defender Eunice Chibanda in the 90th minute. The Germans are hoping their dominant performance and diverse goal scorers can help them win a group that includes Canada and Australia.
Perhaps the biggest game of the night was the United States Olympic opener against New Zealand. The United States is looking to defend their gold medal, and become the first team to win a World Cup and the Olympic tournament back-to-back. They started early, with a goal in the ninth minute by star Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd. Orlando Pride Forward Alex Morgan would find the back of the net in the 46th minute, giving the United States a comfortable win as they look to take on 3rd ranked France on Saturday.
The final game of the day featured France, taking on Colombia. The last time these two teams met, Colombia walked away with one of the biggest upsets in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, beating France 1-0. France made sure that wouldn’t happen again, when Colombia scored an own goal off a strong kick by Eugenie Le Sommer in the 2nd minute. Le Sommer found the net herself in the 14th minute, giving France a 2-0 lead early on. France would tack on two more goals in the second half, by Camille Abilly and Amel Majri.
The women’s soccer tournament will continue on Saturday, starting with Canada vs. Zimbabwe at 2:00pm. The U.S kicks off against France at 4:00pm, followed by Germany vs. Australia at 5:00pm. South Africa will take on China at 6:00pm, and Colombia will face New Zealand at 7:00pm. The final game of the night will feature Brazil and Sweden, with kick off scheduled for 9:00pm. Don’t miss any of your favorite players in the 2016 Olympic Games!