Well hello! Welcome to the Olympics that were postponed, the ones that should not be going ahead but now that they are are sure to produce some beguiling sporting moments. Football is one of the early risers on the day that is the Games. We’ve already had some softball today, when Australia succumbed to host nation Japan via the “mercy rule”, and in the beautiful game Team GB have already beaten Chile 2-0 in Group E, Brazil saw off China 5-0 in Group F and Sweden upset the United States 3-0 in Group G. That last result is a big one in terms of Australia’s hopes of getting out of Group G.
But first! The Matildas open their Tokyo 2020 campaign against New Zealand, an old rival that may not quite be a rival if one considers that Australia are undefeated in their last 28 women’s internationals against the Football Ferns (25 wins, 3 draws) dating back to October 1994. But Tom Sermanni’s NZ side may still not make for an easy ride, and the former Matildas coach knows Australia’s game well. That’s before mentioning that the Matildas have not had an easy run thus far under Tony Gustavsson, having lost four of their past five games including heavy defeats to Germany and the Netherlands, and the squad find themselves squashed between two unenviable feelings of expectation and pressure.
For some key info on how this tournament works, there are three groups of four teams, with the top two automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals along with the two best third-placed teams. Here are the groups:
Group E: Great Britain, Canada, Japan, Chile
Group F: China, Brazil, Zambia, Netherland
Group G: Sweden, USA, Australia, New Zealand
Let’s get the ball rolling, so to speak. As always, hit me with any thoughts as we go.