Ahead of tomorrow’s Quarter-Finals ties, Harriet Meers from Wroxham Women, one of Impetus’ partner clubs, previews all of the games.
Canada v Brazil
Canada have started this tournament solidly, but haven’t demonstrated the danger that they could possess with the talent they have within the squad.
With players such as Allysha Chapman, Christine Sinclair and Ashley Lawrence they should be causing more problems then they are. Sinclair, the Canadian captain, has 187 goals within her 301 appearances for country. Therefore, we should expect more goals to come and for her to be a player for the Brazilian defence to have to keep a close eye on.
In theory, Canada should be defensively strong, but they have conceded late goals in two of their three games. These late goals have cost Canada the wins and resulted in draws against Great Britain and Japan. Brazil have been offensively dictating with nine goals to date. However, it could be said they have looked a bit porous at the back against the Netherlands but is it any wonder with the form that squad are on!
Great Britain v Australia
Team GB finished top of Group E after a late equaliser against Canada and now face Australia, led by Chelsea striker Sam Kerr.
The first thing that can be said for Great Britain and Australia is the defensive issues that both teams seem to have. The cause of GB’s draw against Canada came from the defence switching off which could be costly if it occurs against the Matildas. It would be great to put this down to a one off mistake but this is something the Lionesses have been prone to over the last 12 months.
The Matildas’ new head coach, Tony Gustavsson, has switched the formation from five at the back to three which could be an effective tactic but currently remains a work in progress.
Despite a goalless draw against the USA, the Australian side played a well organised and professional game which impressed. If GB switch off once again the threat will come from the likes of Ellie Carpenter, Emily Gielnik and Kyah Simon, with teenager Mary Fowler also looking impressive against the USA offensively.
Great Britain have scored four goals after the group stages, three of which came from Ellen White and the last goal from Caroline Weir against Canada. For Team GB to make the semi-finals and have the chance of placing a medal position, they must stay switched on at the back and be more attack minded. Personally, I hope Ellen White has plenty more goals to come in this Olympic Games.
Sweden v Japan
It could be argued that Japan are lucky to have made the last eight and therefore Sweden have the easiest quarter final draw.
Sweden have been on form and finished their group top after three wins. Contrastingly, Japan narrowly made the cut after a one goal win against Chile placing them third in Group E.
Sweden have a great mix of experienced players such as defender Magda Eriksson and promising young stars such as Hanna Bennison as well as a forward, Stina Blackstenius, in great form with three goals in the group stage.
Out of all of the teams that have reached the quarter finals, Japan have the lowest FIFA World Ranking. Ultimately, Japan could be described as a work in progress and their physicality is unlikely to match up to the Swedes.
The main player to watch from Japan is Mana Iwabuchi, recently signed by Arsenal, who scored in their opening game against Canada. Unfortunately for Japan, it is unlikely that Iwabuchi will be enough to carry the team to the semis against the on form Swedes.
Netherlands v USA
The Netherlands have been goal scoring machines in their three group games processing to the quarter finals with 21 goals already under their belt.
Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema has carried through brilliant form to the Olympics and has scored eight goals in the group stages so she could be a player to watch alongside Lieke Martens.
However, they face 2012 Olympic gold medallists, current World champions and FIFA ranked number one side, USA. Despite coming to the tournament with an unbeaten 44 game run, so far the United States have not had their best Games and deservedly lost against Sweden in their opener.
The issues with the USA seem to sit with their defence. Rapinoe needs to find some more strength to hold off the Netherlands attack having been outmuscled off the ball one too many times.
Providing the Dutch play the way they have attacked the games so far, they should have no problem making the semi and facing the winner of Canada v Brazil to be in with a chance of taking home the gold medal.
Harriet’s Predicted Medal Finishers:
Gold – Netherlands
Silver – Sweden
Bronze – Great Britain