Going For Gold: The Women’s Olympic Group Stages Are Complete

If you missed my article yesterday, I reviewed the men’s Olympic Group Stages. Here is my analysis of the women’s Olympic Group Stage:

Group A

Technically the Olympics list this as Group E (a continuation of the men’s, I guess?) but that makes no sense.

Great Britain topped the group with seven points, finishing as one of five undefeated teams. Britain allowed just one goal and scored four, but they need other players to start scoring. Ellen White scored three of Britain’s, and the other goal was a Canadian own goal.

That own goal cost Canada the top spot in this group, but they will still advance. Drawing two and winning one, Canada’s offense struggled to get going but consistent defense earned the side a spot in the Quarterfinals.

Japan‘s women’s side had less success than the men’s, only winning once, but the women’s tournament has the two best-placed third-placed teams going through. With four points despite only scoring twice, Japan are through.

Despite having the seventh-best defense in the group stages, Chile were eliminated with only one goal scored and zero total points. Only star goalkeeper Christiane Endler kept the results from being worse.

Group B

The Netherlands showed that an all-offense, no-defense strategy can work sometimes as the Dutch won two games and tied one, scoring 21 goals. That’s an average of seven goals a match. However, they did also concede eight.

Brazil also finished undefeated and level on points with the Netherlands but unsurprisingly had a worse goal differential than the Dutch +13. Leading Brazil’s lines is 35 year-old Marta, who has scored three times already including a brace against China.

Zambia will be proud of the results in their first ever Olympic Games. Sure, they conceded ten to the Netherlands but they followed that up with a draw against China and a narrow one goal loss to Brazil. Barbra Banda, a 21 year-old who (ironically) plays in China, also scored hat tricks against the Netherlands and China. The future for Zambian football, men’s and women’s alike, is bright.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is China. They finished the tournament with only one point, conceded a tournament-high 17 goals, and finished with the worst goal differential: -11.

Group C

Defending Olympic finalists Sweden topped the group, winning all three matches and handing the United States their first loss in 44 games. They are considered favorites by many.

The United States finished second on goal differential, but the results were not too impressive. They finished with four points, beating only pointless New Zealand and failing to score in either of the other matches.

Australia tied on points with the United States but will advance as a third-placed team, beating New Zealand and tying the United States. Offensively the Matildas need to improve, scoring just four goals despite recording 35 shots. They outshot the United States with ten, but failed to score.

With the exception of the 6-1 loss to the United States, New Zealand kept the scores in a tricky group respectable. They allowed two to both Sweden and Australia, both teams ranked among the top ten in the world.

Some exciting matchups await in the Quarterfinals. The United States face the Netherlands in what is the headline matchup, but there are other great matchups. Brazil face Canada, favorites Sweden will face the hosts Japan, and Australia will play Great Britain. Who are you rooting for? Let me know in the comments!

Image Courtesy of Syced, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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