Warming up is essential. If you don’t you go in under prepared and liable to pulling a muscle. We don’t need any of that at the Olympics, so we’ve got you covered. Prepare for the Olympic feast with a dive into the history books. We take a look at the rivalries found in the group stages.
China v Brazil
It’s deja vu for this pair who met in their last Olympic group stage in Rio. In a tournament where Brazil captured the heart of its own football-loving nation, the home side beat China 3-nil in the first round.
Again, it’s not rare for the pair to meet on the global stage, but perhaps it’s the story throughout time that tells the tale of women’s football history. The mid to late ‘90 China dominated the world stage, but continued to be pipped to the post by the USA. When China met Brazil at the Olympics in 1996 it was China who won 3-2.
Almost in symmetry, 2007 was heralded as the beginning of Brazil’s golden generation. Brazil would better China in 2007. But much the same as their Asian counterparts, Brazil would come second fiddle in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics to the USA.
When the two meet up, it’ll once again be a clash between structure and flair. China is able to work in a block that’s difficult to break down and has a powerful counter attacking ability. Compared to Brazil who brings the flair and creativity, with the new generation rising up showing no signs of losing that special touch.
The poster child: Netherlands
The Netherlands are the poster child of the benefits of expanding international competitions.
A golden ticket to a major event has been tough to wrestle in the highly competitive European federation in tournament’s past. The benefits of the World Cup’s expansion from 16 to 24 teams in 2015 was an opportunity to be grasped by up and coming nations. Something the Netherlands have done with both hands.
The Netherland’s first Women’s World Cup appearance was Canada 2015. They’ve not looked back since.
Reaching the final in France 2019, it’s easy to forget the Orange are relatively newcomers to the world stage.
You’d be a fool to think they’re just here to make up numbers in their first Olympics.
New kid on the block: Zambia
It’s a new day for Zambia, with the Tokyo Olympics their first ever major tournament appearance.
Three appearances in the African Cup of Nations, the most recent in 2014 and 2018 doesn’t suggest much on the face of it. Both tournaments ended at the group stage for Zambia.
In the final of the African qualifiers, Zambia beat Cameroon on away goals.
Possessing the tournament’s leading goal scorer, Grace Chanda with 8 goals, is an indication they can attack.
Otherwise Zambia come into the tournament with only history to write.