The Tokyo Olympics got underway with the women’s football event witnessing two surprise results on the opening day. First, four-time gold medal winners and tournament favourites the USA were on the receiving end of a 3-0 bashing from Sweden before another European side, the Netherlands, handed Africa’s sole representative, Zambia, a 10-3 beating.
Zambia’s female national team, the Shepolopolo, was making its first-ever appearance at the Olympics when they faced a Netherlands side led by Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema in the opening Group F fixture. The first half of the game ended 6-1, with Miedema having netted thrice, with Barcelona forward Lieke Martens adding two goals and Shanice Van de Sanden adding the sixth. Zambia captain Barbara Banda scored the nation’s first-ever goal in the Olympics as well. The second half kicked off in the same vein, with Miedema, her Arsenal teammate Jill Roord, Lineth Beerensteyn and Victoria Pelova scoring to put the Netherlands 10-1 up by the 80th minute. Banda completed her hattrick with two goals in two minutes to make the scores 10-3, making her the first African to score a hattrick at the Olympics.
In Group G, Sweden thrashed the USA 3-0 at the Ajinomoto Stadium, causing a major upset on the opening day of the tournament. Stina Blackstenius scored twice on either side of halftime to put the Swedes 2-0 up before Lina Hurtig added a third to complete the victory over the Americans.
In the other Group F game, Brazil defeated China 5-0, with Marta becoming the first player to score in five Olympic games and teammate Formiga becoming the first to appear in seven Olympic games. In the other Group G game, Australia defeated New Zealand 2-1, leaving the USA at the bottom of the log.