Yesterday was the inaugural Rio 2016 women’s football matches. Here is all about those female coaches involved and their respective teams.
1pm: Sweden 1-0 South Africa (Fischer 75’)
Until the 75th minute it looked like Vera Pauw’s team had managed to end their losing streak. But Fischer managed to capitalise on a defensive mix up at a corner, for Pia Sundhage’s team to snatch a victory. It was human error, mainly from Roxenne Barker who dropped a cross from a corner, before defenders failed to clear and Fischer broke the deadlock.
It is fair to say Pauw’s team were tactically set up brilliantly. There was very little between them and their Swedish counterparts, who have been a constant force in women’s football for so long. Sweden have been struggling to find goals and it did show, especially in the first half. But their eventual tally of 15 shots to South Africa’s 4 proved the difference. South Africa had ten offsides throughout the game, as Seoposenwe found it hard not to stray past Sweden’s defensive line. This is certainly something that Pauw will have to look at in her next game, because their way to winning is her getting the goals.
South Africa play China whilst Sweden play hosts Brazil on Saturday, as Group E hots up.
3pm: Canada 2-0 Australia (Beckie 1’, Sinclair 80’)
No female coaches in this one, but this one was packed with early action. The fastest goal in Olympic history followed by a red card for Canada’s Zadorsky. This left Canada, with their player disadvantage, to desperately defend for 60 minutes. The veteran international Sinclair finished the job on the counter late on, putting Canada firmly in control, and leaving the Matildas with a lot to do.
4pm: Brazil 3-0 China PR (Monica 36’, Alves 59’, Cristiane 90’)
The hosts were always going to start strong, and it seemed the Chinese team were stunned by Brazil in their opening game. Monica opened the scoring before half time, with Andressa Alves with a second and Cristiane finishing it off late on. Marta is hunting that medal down, and I am predicting them to finish top of their group. Both these teams look very strong sides despite the scoreline, and Vera Pauw and Pia Sundhage will have get their teams tactically right to earn any points against them.
6pm: Germany 6-1 Zimbabwe (Daebritz 22’, Popp 36’, Behringer 53’,78’, Leupolz 83’, OG 90) (Basopo 50’)
The first half was bleak for Zimbabwe as Silvia Neid’s team proved they were one of the world’s best female international teams. Zimbabwe’s inexperience showed, and with 78% possession and 20 shots in 45 minutes, Germany got the rewards they deserved through Dabritz and Popp. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, Zimbabwe were characterised by mistimed tackles and desperate defending.
There was a goal for them in the second half from Basopo, which did show German defensive weakness, but also made the game tight. In the only game where both teams scored, the closeness did not last too long. Silvia Neid’s team resumed their dominance not long after from a Behringer free kick. A further 3 goals cemented Germany’s position at the top of the group sealed the African side’s fate, in what was a constant uphill battle.
Germany take on Australia next, who desperately need a win after their score line against Canada.
7pm: USA 2-0 New Zealand (Lloyd 8’, Morgan 46’)
The pressure is always on the USA, and it was quickly diminished by who else, but Carli Lloyd. New Zealand. Jill Ellis’ team were in control till the break, but many felt there were not many goals to reflect their solid performance. All doubts were put to bed by Alex Morgan, who doubled their lead shortly after the break. The early goals in each half were key to setting the tone to the game. The defence looked strong, with Hope Solo in goal not too troubled. It was not totally convincing performance by all means, with chance conversion something for Jill Ellis to look at, but was a comfortable foundation for the reigning champions in Brazil.
The USA will have it tough against France, who many people have tipped to go far. I think that game will ultimately decide the outcome of Group G.
10pm: France 4-0 Columbia (OG 2’, Le Sommer 14’, Abily 42’, Majri 82’)
It was easy in the end for France, who like Canada and the US benefitted from an early goal and went from strength to strength. They looked in fine shape against a Columbian side who just had no reply. They will stretch Jill Ellis’ team to the limit on Saturday.
The happier female coaches will of course be Jill Ellis and Silvia Neid. It was no surprise that this would be the case in the first round of games. All female coaches registered points on the board, and will be looking for their squads to rest up for Saturday (6th), when they all play again.
Bio: Emily Hassall is an English Durham University (UK) History Student as well as a football / soccer player who has played left wing for 13 years. Emily has been a Level 1 coach for the last 4 seasons and helped build a girls setup at Woodkirk Valley FC, a club in Leeds (UK). It started with just 8 girls and now has over 50 across four age groups! Emily has also been a referee for 5 seasons, she is an avid Manchester United fan and a keen watcher of all things women’s football.