By Tim Grainey
Today, the Roundup examines the first two rounds of the Women’s Olympic Tournament in the United Kingdom. In a column to follow this week, we will review the championship tournaments for WPSL Elite, WPSL and the W-League—each involving four teams and some fantastic games.
Olympic Games After Two Games For Each Team
In Group E, Brazil routed Cameroon 5-0 in their first match and then narrowly defeated New Zealand 1-0 on Saturday July 28. Marta and Cristiane combined well up front against Cameroon, with Marta scoring twice and Cristiane once. With her goal, Cristiane became the all-time leader in Olympic scoring for women with 11 goals, passing Germany’s Brigit Prinz, who is now retired. Cristiane scored her second goal late in the tournament to deny the Kiwis’, who have former WPS Western New York Flash and FC Gold Pride defender Ali Riley. Riley now plays club ball for LdB Malmo in Sweden. Backup midfielder Betsy Hassett and forward Rosie White are California-based collegians, at Cal-Berkeley and UCLA respectively. Six of the squad play on club sides in Germany, including defenders Ria Percival (1.FFC Frankfurt), Anna Green (Lokomotive Leipzig) and Captain Rebecca Smith (VfL Wolfsburg).
With head coach Jorge Barcellos back as head coach of Brazil, (he led the team to a runner up position in the 2007 World Cup and 2008 Olympics—both in China before coaching at St. Louis Athletica in WPS) this team looks to be a definite medal contender again and could be the U.S.’s biggest threat for the gold medal. Cristiane’s play should propel clubs to pursue her. Now based in Russia, she has underperformed for clubs in Sweden, Austria and with the Chicago Red Stars in WPS in 2009 and 2010. Perhaps a move to Marta’s club side Tyreso in Sweden would bring the best out in Cristiane. She told FIFA.Com that she almost didn’t make the squad due to a shoulder injury that kept her out for four weeks. She has served notice that she is back and in fine form for a Brazil side that is much more potent with her.
Great Britain started out with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand followed by a 3-0 defeat of Cameroon. Great Britain (comprised of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales which normally field their own national teams) is comprised of essentially the English national team plus two Scottish players: defender Ifeoma Dieke (who played in WUSA) and forward Kim Little (Arsenal Ladies). The hosts and Brazil are through to the quarterfinals while New Zealand or Cameroon, with a victory in their last matchup, could slide into the second round as one of the two best third-place finishers.
In Group F, Canada played competitively against the World Champions Japan in their opening game, with Melissa Tancredi (ex-Notre Dame and St. Louis Athletica) scoring in the 55th minute to set up a tight finish. Tancredi scored again while Christine Sinclair scored a brace as the Canadians defeated South Africa 3-0 in their second game, while Sweden and Japan played to a scoreless tie. Sweden had defeated the Banyana Banyana 4-1 in their opener. With the top two third-place teams advancing, the top three teams have a good chance to advance from this group: Sweden and Japan with 4 points and Canada with 3 (all within FIFA’s list as the top seven teams in the world). The crucial game will be Tuesday in Newcastle between Canada and Sweden.
In Group G, the American’s recovered well from a shock 2-0 deficit in the first 15 minutes against France in the first game, to storm home 4-2 winners with Alex Morgan scoring twice, along with single tallies from Abby Wambach (head) and Carli Lloyd, from one of her trademark pile drivers from well outside the box. The Americans, habitually slow starters to major tournaments, looked very good, particularly in the second half, but must tighten their defense, which admittedly is badly missing Olympic Qualifying Tournament injury victim Ali Krieger.
In their second match, the U.S. clinched a quarterfinal spot by beating Colombia 3-0 behind goals by Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd. France blasted North Korea 5-0, with four goals coming within 17 minutes late in the second half.
North Korea handled Colombia better than they did the pre-match introductions for the first match. They stormed off the field when the player profiles shown on the stadium video screen depicted the South Korean flag. The Local Organizing Committee apologized profusely and it was a regrettable error, but the North Koreans typically blew up the significance into a political issue. They returned over an hour later from the locker rooms to defeat Colombia 2-0.
North Korea plays the U.S. on Tuesday while France plays Colombia to decide the next round qualifiers and quarterfinal matchups.
Check out the Women's Soccer Olympic Standings after the first two matches.
Tim Grainey is a regular contributor to Soccer365. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham was released earlier this month. Get your copy today.
Ajax has released their away soccer jersey for the 2013/14 season. Get in the Gear.
Bayern Munich are kings of Germany and hope to be crowned kings of Europe at Wembley later this month!
Borussia Dortmund hears Wembley Calling and are headed to London for the Champions League final.
The new PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 FG. A great new soccer cleat with classic look and first time for PUMA to be on the cleat.
One of the top soccer cleats for control the Nike CTR360 will not let you down on the field in tight spaces.
The Liverpool 2013/14 soccer jersey is available for pre-order. The Reds are eager to compete for silver next season.
The adidas Nitrocharge is the most talked about new cleat in years. It was released on May 15 and will take your pitch by storm.
The Juventus jersey for the 2013/14 was released earlier this week. Be the first to wear the colors of the Old Lady.
Chelsea won the Europa League on Wednesday. The Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 on injury time goal from Ivanovic.
The push for more color on their cleats, adidas has added the infrared colorway to the adiZero f50 Line.