Now or never in race for knockout places 

26 Jul 2021
  • Teams set for final round of group games

  • Sweden and Great Britain already qualified 

  • Six quarter-final places still up for grabs

If a FIFA World Cup™ can resemble a long-distance race, an Olympic Football Tournament is more like a sprint, with every team setting off at the same time and completing their three group games in just three matchdays. In the women's competition at Tokyo 2020, Sweden and Great Britain have already crossed the line to the quarter-finals, while Canada are a hair's breadth away from joining them. 

The third and final round of group matches will complete the picture on Tuesday, with six more last-eight berths remaining to be filled. As a reminder, the top two sides in each of the three groups go through, along with the two best third-placed teams. 

Match schedule (local time)

USA - Australia Kashima Stadium, 17:00 

New Zealand - Sweden Miyagi Stadium, 17:00 

Canada - Great Britain Kashima Stadium, 20:00 

Chile - Japan Miyagi Stadium, 20:00

Netherlands - China PR  Yokohama Stadium, 20:30

Brazil - Zambia Saitama Stadium, 20:30

Key points

Banda and Marta "I am aiming to become the best footballer in the world." That was Barbra Banda's ambitious declaration after her second hat-trick in two games earned the Zambia striker a place in the annals of Olympic football. Next up for the 21-year-old is a fascinating duel with Brazil – and the chance to measure herself up against Marta, one of the greatest players in women's history. "We have a strong feeling that we can do something in the third match [against Brazil]," added Banda, in typically fearless fashion. "In the next game, we want the three points."

Musical chairs Canada's showdown with Great Britain will be particularly special for the Canucks' British coach Bev Priestman – and so too for Rhian Wilkinson, the Canadian assistant to coach Hege Riise on the Team GB bench. Capped 181 times by Canada, Wilkinson will be reunited with her former team-mate Christine Sinclair after the pair won Olympic bronze together in 2012 and 2016. "I just did the same thing: passed the ball to Sincy," Wilkinson joked recently. "That was always a good mantra!"

Sweden seeing double Before Tokyo 2020, only two players had ever scored twice in an Olympic game for the Swedish women's team. Malin Swedberg got there first, against Denmark in 1996, before Lotta Schelin hit doubles against Canada in 2008 and South Africa in 2012. They have since been joined by two more compatriots after just two games at the current edition, Stina Blackstenius registering twice against USA and Fridolina Rolfo doing likewise versus Australia. Whose turn will it be against New Zealand?

Ertz in ominous form  Left on the bench during their opening loss to Sweden, midfielder Julie Ertz was a starter for USA as they swept aside New Zealand 6-1 in their second game. Back from injury, the two-time world champion put in a superb performance, delivering two assists and being named player of the match. Ertz is now set to face Australia on Tuesday – and her former Chicago Red Stars team-mate Sam Kerr is expecting a stern test. "I can tell you that I'd rather play with Julie than against her," the Matildas ace told FIFA.com. "Every player I know would say the same thing. She's phenomenal."

As a reminder, the top two sides in each of the three groups go through, along with the two best third-placed teams. If two or more teams in the same group are equal on points after completion of the group stage, the criteria stipulated in the competition regulations art. 30.6 (Men's Olympic Football Tournament) / 34.6 (Women's Olympic Football Tourament) shall apply.