Champs USA stunned

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Gold medal favourites the United States began their bid for a fifth women’s Olympic football title with an embarrassing 0-3 loss to Sweden, while Team GB kicked off their campaign at the Tokyo Games by beating Chile on Wednesday and the Netherlands put 10 past fellow debutants Zambia. 

Brazil’s Marta scores brace

Meanwhile, Marta became the first player to score in five straight Olympics and Brazil beat China 5-0 on Wednesday. Marta finished with a pair of goals for Brazil, which is ranked No. 7 in the world. Debinha, Andressa Alves and Beatriz also scored. 

A six-time FIFA Player of the Year, Marta has 111 international goals, more than any Brazilian player, male or female. After her goal in the ninth minute, Debinha added another in the 22nd to put Brazil up 2-0. Marta added her second goal in the 74th minute before Alves scored from the penalty spot. Beatriz closed out the rout with a goal in the 89th. 

Brazil was playing its first major tournament under Pia Sundhage, the former coach of both the US and Swedish women. Sundhage coached the US team that won the gold medal at the 2012 London Games.

Stina nets twice for Sweden

The US have won four of six Olympic titles since women’s football was introduced to the programme in 1996, but suffered a heavy defeat by the same team that knocked them out on penalties in the quarter-finals in Rio. Stina Blackstenius scored twice before substitute Lina Hurtig added a third for 2016 silver medallists Sweden at a game played in an empty Tokyo Stadium due to strict COVID-19 restrictions.

The loss ended a 44-match unbeaten run for the Americans dating back to the start of 2019. It was also only the second time they had lost a game in 90 minutes at the Olympics. 

“They’re [Sweden] one of the best teams in the world,” said US forward Megan Rapinoe. “There’s really no time to dwell or think about if Sweden is living in our heads or not. We’ve got another game in three days.” 

Dutch make history

The Dutch made history in Miyagi as Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedama scored four times in a remarkable 10-3 thumping of Zambia. Lieke Martens netted twice, while Shanice van de Sanden, Jill Roord, Lineth Beerensteyn and Victoria Pevlova also got on the scoresheet. 

It was the highest-scoring game in women’s Olympic history and the most scored by one team in a match, but Zambia avoided a record margin of defeat as Barbra Banda scored twice late on to secure a hat-trick. The largest win remains Germany’s 8-0 thrashing of China in 2004. In Sapporo, Great Britain won their Group E opener 2-0, with Manchester City striker Ellen White scoring twice and having a goal disallowed by VAR for offside.

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