Opening goal deluge sets up pivotal matchday

21 Jul 2021
  • Matchday 2 at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament

  • USA with point to prove after opening defeat to Swedes 

  • An appetizing Netherlands - Brazil clash on the menu

After a thrilling first matchday, when the goals rained down at Tokyo 2020, the Women's Olympic Football Tournament is back this Saturday 24 July for another round of games that promises to be eventful. How will the world champions USA react after their emphatic defeat by Sweden? Can hosts Japan pass a stern test from Great Britain after an opening draw with Canada? Who will emerge victorious from the heavyweight showdowns between Netherlands - Brazil and Sweden - Australia, and who will be celebrating their first points after China PR - Zambia? FIFA.com previews all the action from the second day of the women’s tournament.

Match schedule

Chile - Canada Sapporo Dome, 16:30 (local time) China PR - Zambia Miyagi Stadium, 17:00 (local time) Sweden - Australia Saitama Stadium, 17:30 (local time) Japan - Great Britain Sapporo Dome, 19:30 (local time) Netherlands - Brazil Miyagi Stadium, 20:00 (local time) New Zealand - USA Saitama Stadium, 20:30 local time

Key points

Warning from an authority After being knocked out by Sweden in the quarter-finals of Rio 2016, many expected USA to exact revenge here in Tokyo in the pair’s opening group game. However, it did not pan out that way as the Stars and Stripes were again outdone by the Blagult in a resounding 3-0 defeat. Because of that, the world champions will be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday against New Zealand – according to their legendary former goal-machine Abby Wambach.

"I would not want to be the next opponent of this team," she cautioned. The teams’ head-to-head would also suggest it could be a tough day for the Football Ferns, who have lost 15, drawn one and won just one of their 17 games against the North Americans. 

Hold on to hope How do you stay confident ahead of your second game in a group stage when you have been on the receiving end of a rout in your first? It is a question Zambia and China PR will try to answer during their confrontation on Saturday.

Hope for Zambia may come from captain Barbra Banda, who managed to score the first Olympic hat-trick by an African woman during her side’s chastening 10-3 defeat to the Netherlands on Wednesday. As for the Steel Roses, despite not scoring in their 5-0 loss to Brazil, they can take encouragement from hitting the woodwork no fewer than four times.

Marta vs Miedema Netherlands - Brazil may be a new fixture in women’s competitions, but it is no less enthralling for that. This showdown has an enticing sub plot in the battle between Marta, one of the true greats of the game, and Vivianne Miedema, one of its rising stars.

With her brace against China PR, the 35-year-old Brazilian became the first player (male or female) to score at least one goal in five different Olympic tournaments. Opposite her will be Miedema, who, at the age of 25, is already her country’s top scorer and fresh from celebrating the Oranje Leeuwinnen’s Olympic debut with four goals against Zambia. It promises to be quite the matchup!

Iwabuchi back for more Mana Iwabuchi is the Nadeshiko’s leading active goalscorer, with her 36th goal earning the hosts a valuable point in the dying minutes against Canada (1-1). "I want to offer a victory to the whole of Japan in the next match [against Great Britain]," said the striker, who will start a new chapter of her club career in September with Arsenal.

As fate would have it, four of her future club-mates are in the British squad, so Iwabuchi will be keen to show them just how astute their club’s recruitment really was.