Brazil, Britain kick-off with wins
Tokyo, July 21: Brazil, Great Britain, Australia, and the Netherlands got off to winning starts at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo while hosts Japan were held to a 1-1 draw and the United States suffered a shock defeat in the hands of Sweden.
Australia vs NZ
Sam Kerr and Tameka Yallop both scored and Australia opened the Olympic women’s soccer tournament with a 2-1 victory over New Zealand on Wednesday.
Yallop scored in the 20th minute and Kerr added her goal in the 33rd to put the Matildas up before halftime. Australia, ranked No. 9 in the world, is playing in its fifth Olympics. New Zealand, ranked No. 22, narrowed the gap with Gabi Rennie’s goal in stoppage time.
Australia has advanced to the Olympic quarterfinals twice, including at the 2016 Games. Fourteen players from that team are on the Tokyo squad.
This is New Zealand’s fourth Olympics. The Ferns are led by Tom Sermanni, the former coach of Australia and the U.S. national team.
New Zealand’s best Olympic showing was a quarterfinals appearance in 2012.
Netherlands vs Zambia
Vivianne Miedema scored four goals and the Netherlands routed Zambia 10-3 to open the Olympic women’s soccer tournament on Wednesday.
Miedema, the all-time leading scorer in the Women’s Super League, as well as the top career scorer for the Netherlands, had goals in the ninth, 15th, 29th and 59th minutes.
Lieke Martens added two goals for the fourth-ranked Netherlands, which advanced to the World Cup final two years ago in France but fell to the United States. The Tokyo Games are the Netherlands’ first Olympics.
Barbra Banda scored all three goals for Zambia.
Japan vs Canada
Mana Iwabuchi scored in the 84th minute as hosts Japan pulled into a 1-1 draw with Canada to open the Olympic women’s soccer tournament on Wednesday.
Christine Sinclair, the all-time leading international scorer among men and women, scored her 187th career goal in the sixth minute to give the Canadians the early lead. It came in her 300th appearance with the team.
Iwabuchi answered late with a long strike that caught Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe out of position.
Sweden vs US
Stina Blackstenius scored a pair of goals and the Swedes stunned the United States at the Olympics with a 3-0 victory Wednesday in the women’s soccer tournament.
The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world and the favorites to win gold in Tokyo, were riding a 44-match unbeaten streak heading into the match. But Sweden, ranked No. 5, has been the U.S. team’s nemesis of sorts in recent years. The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in the quarterfinals, the earliest U.S. Olympic exit ever, by making a defensive stand.
Sweden’s offense deserved all the credit. Blackstenius’ header into the far corner off a cross from Sofia Jakobsson in the 26th minute gave the team a first-half lead.
Blackstenius scored again in the 54th minute, beating goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, as the Americans continued to struggle. Lina Hurtig added the final goal in the 72nd.
Brazil vs China
Marta became the first player to score in five straight Olympics and Brazil beat China 5-0 on Wednesday in the women’s soccer tournament.
Marta finished with a pair of goals for Brazil, which is ranked No. 7 in the world. Debinha, Andressa Alves and Beatriz also scored.
After her goal in the ninth minute, Debinha added another in the 22nd to put Brazil up 2-0.
Marta added her second goal in the 74th minute before Alves scored from the penalty spot. Beatriz closed out the rout with a goal in the 89th.
Great Britain vs Chile
Ellen White scored a pair of goals and Britain opened the Olympic women’s soccer tournament with a 2-0 victory over Chile on Wednesday.
Lauren Hemp’s header put the ball in front of White for a close-in goal in the 18th minute. White’s second goal was a volley to the far post in the 75th.
Chile, ranked No. 37 in the world, was making its Olympic debut. (AP)