China, Canada lead the pack
© Foto-net

A pair of 2-1 wins for hosts China and bruising debutantes Canada sees them sitting at the pinnacle of Women's Olympic Football Tournament Group E. As the second matchday in Tianjin approaches, the co-leaders are preparing for a battle of the table-toppers.

The games
Sweden-Argentina, 9 July, 17:00 (local time), Tianjin
Canada-China PR, 9 July, 19:45 (local time), Tianjin

The context
The North Americans, with their direct approach, managed a tighter-than-expected 2-1 win over Argentina in their first match and will be hoping for some more fluid play when they meet up with China, who beat Sweden by the same score to set themselves up as the cream of the section. China's short-passing game will be in direct opposition to Canada's honest hustle and bustle in what is destined to be a clash of styles and star strikers. Canada's Christine Sinclair and Han Duan look like the major goal threats.

Argentina gave a good account of themselves in their opening-day loss to Canada, scoring their first Olympic goal in the process. The Swedes, however, will be rampaging favourites in the next game. They tend to lose opening games in big tournaments, but they usually rebound. And with top-class talent like Lotta Schelin and Victoria Svensson in the side, the Europeans will be heavy favourites to put Argentina - still developing in the women's game - to the sword.

The player to watch: Lotta Schelin (SWE)
Scorer of the equalising goal in Sweden's loss to China, the tall, rangy forward always looked a threat. Playing in advance of captain Svensson, Schelin's pace, vision and thunderous striking of the ball make her one of the elite players in the women's game. She is often compared to men's counterpart Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and could well cause a headache or two for Argentina's rearguard.

The numbers game
0 -
the number of opening games Sweden have won at their four Olympic finals. They have, in fact, lost every one since debuting at Atlanta 1996. They have also failed to win in their last five FIFA Women's World Cup openers, making them the true slow starters of women's football.

The quotes
"We played well overall against China, but we just made a few silly mistakes and you will always be punished for that at this level," Sweden captain Victoria Svensson.

"I can't tell you how excited I was to score the winning goal against Sweden. Now I just want to keep up the form and help my team go far," China striker Han Duan.

Can Sweden rebound and secure their passage to the knockout rounds?