Brazil won their opening match at the Olympic Games. (AFP)
The Tokyo Olympic Games have kicked off in football, with the first day of the women's group stage taking place. The 12 national teams played against each other, scoring no less than 28 goals in the six matches played and the big surprise was the defeat of the United States against Sweden.
In the first of the matches, which pitted Chile against the United Kingdom, the scales tipped in favour of the Britsh thanks to a brilliant performance from striker Ellen White. The Manchester City player showed first in the 17th minute and then in the 72nd minute a total command of the penalty area with two goals that put the first victory (0-2) and, with it, the qualification of the English team on track.
Japan managed to salvage a valuable draw in their tournament debut as hosts against Canada. The first half was completely dominated by the Americans, led by Christine Sinclair who opened the scoring after collecting a rebound off the post from her own shot. However, the Japanese team came back in the second half. Although they were denied a penalty just after the break, Iwabuchi finally restored parity just six minutes from the final whistle.
The group now stands with the United Kingdom as the sole leaders with three points, followed by Japan and Canada, who are level on one point, and Chile, who close the group with an unbeaten record. Next Saturday 24th, Chile will play Canada in need of points while Japan will face the United Kingdom in the battle to go into the final matchday as group leaders.
Ellen White scored a brace in her national team's victory. (REUTERS)
The first day in this group was marked by two convincing victories. Brazil, the favourites to win the golden medal after losing in the final at both Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, ran out comfortable 5-0 winners over China. Captain and Brazilian football legend Marta Vieira scored a brace. The other three goals came from Debinha, Andressa Alves and Beatriz.
Even more spectacular was the Netherlands' victory over Zambia. Only 15 minutes into the match the score was already 3-0 in favour of the Europeans, and at half-time it was 6-1. In the final minutes, when the score was a scandalous 10-1, the Dutch players relaxed and allowed Babra Banda to score a hat-trick on her debut, making the final score 10-3 (Miedema's hat-trick and Martens' brace were joined by Van de Sanden, Roord, Beerensteyn and Pelova to reach their tenth). A scoreline that will go down in history as the highest in the history of the Olympic Games.
Group F is therefore as follows: The Netherlands as leaders but tied on three points with Brazil, followed by China who are also level with no points with Zambia, bottom of the group. The second matchday, which will be played on Saturday, promises strong emotions with a very interesting Netherlands - Brazil in the fight for first place and China - Zambia fighting to keep their chances in the tournament.
Historic victory from the Netherlands. (AFP)
The big surprise of the first day came from the United States (one of the favourites for a medal), who suffered a real nightmare as Sweden won 3-0 on their debut in the competition. Stina Blackstenius' brace and Lina Hurtig's goal ended the Americans' 44-match unbeaten run, which dated back to January 2019. It was a huge morale boost for the Swedes and virtually forces the Americans to win all of their remaining matches.
The other match in the group was a very interesting derby between the two Oceania teams. A derby that went Australia's way with a 2-1 win over New Zealand. The real hero of the match was Sam Kerr, who in just over half an hour got the game back on track with a back-heel assist for Yallop to open the scoring and a fine finish from a corner to make it 2-0. The New Zealanders managed to pull one back with Gabi Rennie's goal but it was not enough to earn a point on a debut in which they were outplayed.
The first day of Group G ended with Sweden as sole leaders (3 points), followed by Australia (also with 3 points), New Zealand and the USA (both still without points). The Americans will be looking to bounce back in their second match against New Zealand, while Sweden and Australia will go head-to-head in search of valuable points for qualification.
Surprise win for Sweden over the USA. (GETTY)