Favourites victorious as women’s football kicks off
Hosts Brazil, four-time Olympic champions USA as well as Germany sailed to com-fortable wins in their opening match, with Sweden also picking up three points.
Four-time Olympic champions USA began the defence of their title with a comfortable 2-0 win over New Zealand in their group G match at Mineirão. Carli Lloyd opened the scoring in the ninth minute and Alex Morgan added a second just after half-time for the reigning world champions.
Brazil swept aside China 3-0 to launch their Rio 2016 Olympic Games campaign in im-pressive fashion at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday. Monica gave Brazil the lead in the 36th minute before Andressa Alves and stand-out performer Cristiane added further goals in the 59th and 90th minutes. Marta was denied the goal her outstanding display deserved by an excellent save from Zhao Lina in the second half of the opening group E game.
"To win this match we needed to be patient and never lose our heads," Brazil coach Vadão said. His side are aiming to win the Olympic title for the first time in their history.
Even more convincing was Germany's 6-1 victory over Zimbabwe in group F at the Corin-thians Arena in São Paulo. Sara Daebritz opened the scoring for Germany in the 22nd minute. Alexandra Popp added a second in the 36th minute, with Melanie Behringen scoring a brace and Melanie Leupolz also getting her name on the score sheet. Zimbabwe’s Eunice Chibanda put the ball to the back of her own net to make it six for the Germans in the final minutes. Kudakwashe Basopo got a consolation goal for Zimbabwe in the 50th minute.
Sweden, who have participated in all Games since women’s football was added to the programme in 1996, have set their sights on finally coming back with a medal. The Scan-dinavian powerhouse scraped a 1-0 victory over South Africa in the other group E game at the Olympic Stadium. Defender Nilla Fischer, who plays in Germany, forced the ball home from close range following a mistake by keeper Roxanne Barker in the 75th minute. Sweden were superior, particularly in the first half, but could not turn possession into goals.
"We did not play well, but the most important thing from the first game is the three points," said Sweden's coach Pia Sundhage, who coached the USA to victory at the last two Olympic Games. Hosts Brazil will be Sweden’s next opponents at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Canada's Janine Beckie scored the fastest goal in the history of the women's tournament, netting after just 19 seconds in the 2-0 win over Australia in group F. France rounded off the opening day of football with a 4-0 victory over Colombia in group G.
The French were in total control from the moment they took the lead from an own goal from Carolina Arias in the second minute. They added further first half goals through Eugenie le Sommer and Camille Abily, before Amel Majri scored a fourth in the 82nd minute.