Thursday 04 August 2016, 08:12

Favourites on target as historic goals scored

THE DAY REPLAYED– While the first six matches of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 featured fewer goals than their London 2012 counterparts, one of them was the fastest ever scored at the competition, with Canada needing just 19 seconds to take a 1-0 lead in their game against Australia.

Germany recorded the most resounding win of the day with a 6-1 victory over debutantes Zimbabwe, despite struggling to break down the southern African side’s well-organised defence for much of the first half. Hosts Brazil and defending champions USA also navigated their opening encounters with ease, while Sweden managed to wrap up the three points in the closing stages of their game. In the final match of the day, France comfortably defeated Colombia 4-0.

Results Group E Sweden 1-0 South Africa Brazil 3-0 China PR

Group F Canada 2-0 Australia Zimbabwe 1-6 Germany

Group G USA 2-0 New Zealand France 4-0 Colombia

Goal of the day *Zimbabwe – Germany, Melanie Behringer (53’) * Melanie Behringer found the target twice in Germany’s match against Zimbabwe, but the best of these was a 53rd-minute free-kick that the 30-year-old looped over the wall and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Lindiwe Magwede from around 20 metres out. The Bayern Munich midfielder then had a penalty saved by the Mighty Warriors’ custodian before netting the rebound.

Memorable moments History repeats itself If you were to ask Nilla Fischer what her Olympic claim to fame might be, her answer would probably be: “Scoring Sweden’s first goal”. The formidable defender put her team ahead in the sixth minute of their 2012 campaign - coincidentally also against South Africa - with a deflected shot from the edge of the penalty area, just 60 seconds after Caroline Seger’s attempt struck the crossbar. Fischer needed a little longer to make the breakthrough this time, finding the target with the only goal of the game in ‘only’ the 75th minute.

Beckie quick off the mark The match between Canada and Australia had barely begun when Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams was forced to pick the ball out of the back of the net. Christine Sinclair won possession straight from kick-off and passed to the unmarked Janine Beckie, who slotted the ball home. The goal was scored after just 19 seconds, making it the fastest strike in Olympic Football Tournament history. ‘Speedy Beckie’ beat Mexico’s Oribe Peralta’s previous record of half a minute in the final of the 2012 men’s competition by a full 11 seconds.

The ‘double Andressa’ While the sport of figure skating includes a move called the ‘double Rittberger’, Brazilian women’s football can now boast the ‘double Andressa’. Andressa came on as a substitute for Thaisa in the 58th minute of her team’s opening game against China PR only to set up their second goal with her first touch. Her long pass found Marta, who dribbled into the penalty box and laid the ball off to Andressa Alves, who coolly steered the ball home from five metres out. The result? A chance created by Andressa and converted by Andressa Alves!

Another goal for the history books Zimbabwe celebrated their historic first goal in their inaugural appearance at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament – against none other than joint favourites Germany. Almuth Schult could only palm Rutendo Makore’s first shot at the feet of Kudakwashe Basopo, who did not need to be asked twice to etch her name in the pages of history.**

The words "It was fantastic to have the crowd behind us. They were chanting ‘Africa, Africa’ with every pass and attack we created. That certainly won’t be the case against Brazil, so we’ll enjoy the moment for as long as it lasts – but it was just incredible." South Africa’s Janine van Wyk praises the Brazilian fans’ support.

Next matchday Saturday 6 August (all times local)

Group E South Africa–China PR, Rio de Janeiro, 19:00 Brazil–Sweden, Rio de Janeiro, 22:00

Group F Canada–Zimbabwe, Sao Paulo, 15:00 Germany–Australia, Sao Paulo, 18:00

Group G USA–France, Belo Horizonte, 17:00 Colombia–New Zealand, Belo Horizonte, 20:00