THE DAY REPLAYED – Day two of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 saw Brazil, USA and Canada become the first three sides to advance to the quarter-finals, albeit in differing fashions. The hosts swept to a stylish and emphatic win over one of the game’s traditional heavyweights, while the reigning world champions got the details right in edging to a narrow victory against an impressive France. Canada made a fast start in getting the better of an energetic Zimbabwe side.

Brazil’s 5-1 defeat of Sweden significantly upped the goal count, with the day’s six games yielding 18 in all. Germany served notice once again of their durability to score a late equaliser against Australia, after being 2-0 down. Also making her mark was Canada’s Janine Beckie, who struck early for the second match in a row.

Results
Group E
South Africa 0-2 China PR 
Brazil 5-1 Sweden

Group F
Canada 3-1 Zimbabwe 
Germany 2-2 Australia

Group G
USA 1-0 France 
Colombia 0-1 New Zealand

Goal of the day
Germany 0-2 Australia, Caitlin Foord 45
Though it was Caitlin Foord’s name that went down on the scoresheet, the credit for Australia’s second goal goes to forward Lisa De Vanna. The 2013 FIFA Puskás Award contender, who started the game against Canada on the bench, showcased her extensive range of skills once again in latching to a long ball on the left, nutmegging her way past Annike Krahn and sending in an inch-perfect cross for Foord to convert.

Memorable moments

Brazil do it with backheels
Cristiane conjured up a cute backheeled flick to score the hosts’ second goal, while Marta and Beatriz played a backheeled one-two in the move that ended with Cristiane winning a penalty. The inimitable No10 then produced a delicious dragback to outfox the Swedish defence and stroke in her side’s fourth. Those were just some of the tricks and flicks Brazil produced in their five-goal romp against Sweden, to which Marta contributed two goals. The bewildered Swedes wasted little time in trying to put the defeat behind them, convening on the pitch for a post-match huddle, a sign that they will be looking to stay strong in the lead-up to Tuesday’s make-or-break meeting with China PR.

Zimbabwe and Australia win over the locals
The people of Sao Paulo took two new teams to their hearts on Saturday. In creating a festive atmosphere in the stands, the nearly 40,000 fans who flocked to the Arena Corinthians for the day’s two games were unanimous in giving their vociferous support to Zimbabwe and Australia. They were particularly taken with the African side, who never looked like getting back in the game after going 3-0 down to Canada but were cheered on ever more noisily as the minutes progressed. The locals were rewarded for their noisy backing when Mavis Chirandu pulled a goal back with four minutes left, and celebrated the strike as if the No10 were one of their own.

Hope brings up double century in style
The hero of USA’s hard-fought win over France was undoubtedly Hope Solo, who celebrated her 200th international outing with a typically brilliant performance. The match-defining highlight of what was her 102nd clean sheet came when Marie Laure Delie went clean through on goal five minutes before half-time. It looked odds-on that the French player would put her side deservedly ahead, but the double centurion had other ideas, facing down her opponent to keep her goal intact and help set her side on the way to three vital points.

Ospina tries her luck
Las Chicas Superpoderosas did everything they could to take something from their game against New Zealand, and never came closer than when Diana Ospina struck the crossbar with an audacious free-kick from out wide. It was not to be their day, however, as they went away goalless and pointless for the second match in a row. Having arrived at Rio 2016 full of hope despite being drawn in a tough group, the Colombians face an uphill task to stay alive in the tournament in their final group game against gold medal holders USA.

The words
“We couldn’t find our way in the game and their opening goal threw us off our gameplan. We didn’t play as a team. Daebritz’s goal gave us hope. We were more compact in the second half and we deserved the draw because we fought and showed spirit.” Germany coach Silvia Neid

Next matchday
Tuesday 9 August (all times local)

Group E
South Africa-Brazil, Manaus, 21.00
China PR-Sweden, Brasilia, 22.00

Group F
Australia-Zimbabwe, Salvador, 16.00
Germany-Canada, Brasilia, 16.00

Group G
Colombia-USA, Manaus, 18.00
New Zealand-France, Salvador, 19.00