Women's football at Tokyo 2020: US, Netherlands and others to watch out for

The women's football at the Tokyo Olympics kicks-off on Wednesday. Here is a lowdown on the top teams to look out for.

The U.S. Women's Football team is one of the greatest sides to ever play the sport.   -  AP

Football has been an integral part of the Summer Olympics. The sport has been played at the Games every year except the 1896 and 1932 editions in Athens and Los Angeles, respectively.

However, the Olympic programme included a full-fledged women's tournament only from the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The 12 women's sides are part of three pools, with the top two and two more best-placed nations finishing third in the first round advancing to the last eight.

Here are some of the teams with the best chances to claim a medal during the latest edition of the quadrennial spectacle.

UNITED STATES

The U.S. Women's Football team is one of the greatest sides to ever play the sport. It has won four gold medals (1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012) at the Olympics and made five finals (including 2000, when it lost to Norway). The 2016 edition in Rio is the only time the nation didn't reach the summit clash. The likes of defenders Crystal Dunn, Kelley O'Hara and forwards Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath are all multi-time Olympians, and they make the United States the favourite to finish on top one more time.

RELATED | Rapinoe, Lavelle in USWNT squad for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

NETHERLANDS

The core Dutch group under head coach Sarina Wiegman, which won the 2017 UEFA Women's EURO and finished as runner-up to the USA at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, will head to the Tokyo Games this time around. Wiegman, who will leave the Netherlands to start her role as the manager of England after the competition, will be eager to end her stint with the Leeuwinnen on a high. Barcelona's Lieke Martens, Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema, Lyon's Danielle van de Donk and the Wolfsburg duo of Jill Roord and Shanice van de Sanden will be the driving force for the Dutch outfit. 

Netherlands' midfielders Lieke Martens (L) and Jackie Groenen (R) attend a training session ahead of the women's football tournament. Photo: AFP   -  AFP

 

GREAT BRITAIN

Head coach Hege Riise, who has won the World Cup, EURO and Olympic gold with Norway as a player, will now lead the Great Britain Women's side as interim manager at Tokyo 2020. The British squad can also be considered as an FA Women's Super League all-star team, including nine players from Manchester City, five from Chelsea, four from Arsenal, two from Everton and one from Manchester United. Rachel Daly of Houston Dash is the only star in the side who plays league football outside England. Man City defender Steph Houghton will captain Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

Team GB's Steph Houghton will captain Team GB at the Olympics. Photo: Reuters   -  Action Images via Reuters

 

RELATED | Britain women's football team to take a knee before kick-off

CANADA

The leading goal scorer in the history of international women's football -- Christine Sinclair -- will captain Canada at the Tokyo Games. The Canadians are coming off back-to-back bronze-medal finishes at the Olympics, and they will be eager to finally reach the gold-medal match in Japan this year. The team mostly involves players from the USA's National Women's Soccer League. Meanwhile, Rosengard's Stephanie Labbe, Lyon's Kadeisha Buchanan, PSG's Jordyn Huitema and Ashley Lawrence, Manchester City's Janine Becky and Chelsea's Jessie Fleming will also be crucial to Canada's chances in 2021.

These are the three groups in the women’s tournament:

GROUP E GROUP FGROUP G
CanadaBrazilAustralia
ChileChinaNew Zealand
Great BritainNetherlandsSweden
JapanZambiaUnited States

 

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