Five years after Germany’s success in Rio de Janeiro, the prospect of VfL Women players returning to Elsterweg with an Olympic medal looks likelier after the group stage. Both the Netherlands, with Dominique Janssen, Jill Roord, Joelle Smits, Shanice van de Sanden and Lynn Wilms, as well as Sweden with Rebecka Blomqvist have qualified for the knockout phase of the Olympic women’s football tournament as group winners. Up next for the Oranje is a quarter-final clash against world champions USA on Friday (kick-off 13:00 CEST), while the Swedes will battle it out with hosts Japan for a place in the semis, also on Friday (12:00 CEST).
Goals galore for Dutch
A goal difference of 21:8 after three group matches is something that is not seen often at major tournaments. Reigning European champions Netherlands and their VfL quintet can reflect on a spectacular and successful group stage. Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema heads the scoring charts with eight goals, but Janssen with a free-kick and van de Sanden with two goals have also contributed.
USA would not exactly have been the Dutch team’s preferred opponents in the quarter-finals – and they can partly blame Sweden, who beat the much-fancied Americans 3-0 in the opening match to put themselves on course for top spot in the group. That was followed by a 4-2 victory over Australia, where ex-She-Wolf Fridolina Rolfö netted a brace, and a 2-0 win against New Zealand. The Scandinavians now go into their meeting with Japan, one of the best third-placed teams, as favourites. In the other quarter-finals, Canada face Brazil and Great Britain play Australia.