All the action you might have missed from the second round of group games at the 2020 Olympics, spoilers: there were some goals.
Following their late concession against Japan last time out, Canada looked to have a little more steel in their side against a Chile team that couldn’t root out their defensive errors. After Kadeisha Buchanan’s early goal was ruled out for offside, a soft foul on Christine Sinclair saw the Canucks awarded an early after a VAR review but Janine Beckie could only ping her effort against the upright. The Manchester City woman more than atoned for the miss however with goals either side of the break to all but confirm the three points.
Penalties were the theme of the day and La Roja were awarded their own spot kick following a foul from Shelina Zadorsky on Rosario Balmaceda. Unlike Beckie before her, Karen Araya nestled the ball into the bottom corner, giving Chile a chance in the match, however it was one La Roja couldn’t take and find themselves pointless after two matches.
As things continued to fail to come together for Japan, Great Britain made it two from two thanks for Ellen White’s second-half header.
In a match with little room for stopping and catching you breath, China and Zambia played out an engrossing 4-4 draw. Following Wang Shuang’s early goal the Copper Queens found and lost parity through Rachael Kundananji’s header before a Wang Shaung’s two-minute brace. Barbra Banda’s penalty just before the break gave Zambia a way back into the match, the captain on the scoresheet again twice after the break. Ahead in the match for the first time, the Copper Queens’ hopes of reaching the knockouts were dealt a blow when China were awarded their own penalty which Wang Shuang converted in style. With both teams pushing up for a winner, Li Qingtong’s late red card rounded out the drama.
Group F refused to relent when it came to goals and following the earlier 4-4, Brazil and the Netherlands played out an engrossing 3-3. After Vivianne Miedema’s early goal on the turn, Debinha restored parity before the Dutch striker nodded in her second of the game. For Brazil, the introduction of Ludmila proved to be key as first, she won a penalty (although replays showed the foul happened outside the box) which Marta converted. Then, just three minutes later, the Atleti woman raced onto a backpass to slot the ball beyond Sari van Veenendaal. Chaos group wasn’t done for the day however and Dominque Janssen still had time to fire in a sublime free kick from over 25-yards.
Fresh off of their matchday one wins, both Sweden and Australia came into their clash full of confidence but it was Sweden who struck first through Fridolina Rolfö before Sam Kerr tied the scores up with a deft header. Kerr’s goal just after the break gave the Matildas a short-lived lead with Lina Hurtig levelling the scores before Rolfö found her second of the match with an effort from range.
Australia only had to wait seven minutes before being gifted another shot at parity when yet another penalty was awarded after a review, unfortunately for the Matildas’ Kerr’s middling effort was kept out by Hedvig Lindahl. The match put to bed by Stina Blackstenius eight minutes from time, leaving just Team GB and Sweden with perfect records two matches in.
With something of a point to prove, the USA found an early breakthrough against New Zealand thanks to a Rose Lavelle goal. Although the traffic wasn’t only going one way, the Americans doubled their advantage just before the break when Lindsey Horan nodded Julie Ertz’ recycled ball home. An Abby Erceg own goal all but put the match out of reach, but there was still some joy to be had for the Ferns who had come close more than once, Betsy Hassett’s well taken goal enough to raise more questions about the US defence and deny Alyssa Naeher her first clean sheet of the Games.
The last ten minutes of the match belonged to the World Champions as goals from Christen Press, Alex Morgan and a stoppage time own goal from CJ Bott turned a win into a rout. The state of play in Group G, as well as their respective performances so far in Japan, leaving a tasty tie on the horizon between Australia and the US.