The tournament favourites all delivered under pressure to reach the last eight
Miedema breaks Olympic goalscoring record
The quarter-finals will feature a repeat of the last Women’s World Cup Final
There was plenty of action once again in the final round of group matches at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, with almost every team still harbouring hopes of a spot in the knockout stages as the final whistle approached.
At the end of an exciting day when the result of several matches was crucial, it was the favourites who emerged victorious, with Canada, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden, USA and Australia all progressing to the quarter-finals.
Japan were made to wait to determine their fate as Chile battled bravely for the opportunity to play in the knockout stages. With 13 minutes of the match remaining, substitute Mina Tanaka finally netted a winner for the hosts from close range to make sure they qualified for the last eight as one of the two best third-placed sides.
Meanwhile a late goal for Great Britain against Canada ensured that they finished as group winners. Adriana Leon put the North American side ahead before Caroline Weir found the courage to unleash a shot from around 30 metres out that Canada’s Nichelle Prince could only deflect into her own net.
The Netherlands maintained their perfect record at their first Women’s Olympic Football Tournament to record an emphatic win over China PR – who never looked like standing up to the Europeans’ attacking threat – and finish as group winners. Their reward is a repeat of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™ Final against USA in the quarter-finals.
The Oranje Leeuwinnen will be joined in the next round by Brazil, who secured a narrow 1-0 win over Zambia. Andressa Alves netted the goal of the day with a stunning free-kick. With just a solitary point to their name, Zambia, who played 80 minutes of the match with ten players after an early red card, were eliminated from the tournament as the weakest third-placed side.
With Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson making several changes to his starting 11 for their final group match, it was clear that the Blagult had the squad depth required to ease their way to victory over New Zealand and secure top spot in their group. Anna Anvegard and Madelen Janogy provided both goals before the break to ensure that Sweden won three successive games at the Olympics for the first time.
The match between USA and Australia was less eventful than expected, with neither team wanting to take any risks. The goalless draw means the Stars and Stripes move on to the next round as the second-placed team, while Australia will join them after securing third place in this challenging group.
RIFU, MIYAGI, JAPAN - JULY 27: Anna Anvegard #19 of Team Sweden celebrates with team mates after scoring their side's first goal during the Women's Group G match between New Zealand and Sweden on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Miyagi Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Rifu, Miyagi, Japan. (Photo by Alex Livesey - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
RIFU, MIYAGI, JAPAN - JULY 27: Anna Anvegard #19 of Team Sweden celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the Women's Group G match between New Zealand and Sweden on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Miyagi Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Rifu, Miyagi, Japan. (Photo by Alex Livesey - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Miedema sets remarkable record This year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament has been one for the strikers, with an incredible 59 goals scored on the first two matchdays alone. And just as it seemed as though the teams were taking it easier in the final round of games, the Netherlands’ 8-2 triumph over China PR ensured that the goalfest continued. At the centre of the action was Vivianne Miedema, who has now scored eight goals at Tokyo 2020 to surpass the previous record of six goals at a single Olympic tournament shared by Canada’s Christine Sinclair (2012) and Zambia’s Barbra Banda (2021). Brazil’s Cristiane currently has the best scoring record across several Olympics with a tally of 14 goals.
It comes as no surprise to learn that the Netherlands’ 21 goals so far have also smashed two team scoring records, far outstripping Germany’s previous record of ten goals in the 2004 group stages as well as the 16 scored by USA across the whole of London 2012.
A debut to forget A goalkeeper whose first touch of the match comes when they pick the ball out of the back of the net normally does so when they have been brought on to face a penalty after a team-mate is sent off. Yet Zambia’s Ngambo Musole suffered this same unfortunate fate during open play in today’s match. Just one minute after she was introduced to the match to replace injured starting keeper Hazel Nali after a long treatment break, Musole was picking Andressa Alves' free-kick out of her net.
Canada hold the key to Team GB's defence For a long time Great Britain’s defence at this tournament seemed impenetrable, with Team GB also navigating the group stage without conceding a single goal during their only previous Olympic appearance at London 2012. Yet their remarkable group-stage record came to an end after 505 minutes when Canada’s Leon broke through the British defence. The Canadians are still the only nation to have scored against Great Britain at the Olympics, having previously defeated them 2-0 at the quarter-final stage in London nine years ago.
Crossbar curse 2.0 It is safe to assume that the uppermost part of the goal and the Chile women’s national team are no longer on speaking terms. After hitting the woodwork in their 2-1 defeat by Canada on the second matchday before taking to Twitter to express their frustration, Chile were denied the chance to open the scoring against Japan by a matter of millimetres as the ball struck the bar again – and the Chileans wasted no time in reiterating their feelings on social media. The South Americans now have an early trip home.
"I'm going to use a quote I used for the team before. It says 'it's not the strongest who survives, but the most intelligent. The one who adapts better to the changes'. It's something I’ve been repeating to them for months now, whether in terms of weather conditions, the COVID protocol or cancelled training sessions. There can be a lot of circumstances but this team has shown tremendous adaptability." Tony Gustavsson, Swedish coach of Australia
Canada – Brazil, Miyagi Stadium, 17:00 (local time)
Great Britain – Australia, Kashima Stadium, 18:00
Sweden – Japan, Saitama Stadium, 19:00
Netherlands – USA, International Stadium Yokohama, 20:00