Women’s Olympic Soccer Preview, Predictions, & TV Times


The competition for the gold in Women’s Olympic Soccer kicks off the games in London tomorrow morning.  Great Britain and New Zealand will play at 11 am EST with the USA playing France and Japan playing Canada an hour later.  There will be unprecendented coverage of all Olympic events across the NBC networks as well as through mobile applications and nbcolympics.com.

The Groups

Group E — Great Britain, New Zealand, Cameroon, Brazil

Group F — Japan, Canada, Sweden, South Africa

Group G — U.S., France, Colombia, North Korea

The women’s quarterfinals have four less teams than that of the men’s pairings with two-thirds of nations qualifying through an open tournament format.  Fans may recall that an under-23 tournament is used in the men’s qualifying.  That is not the case with the women.

Group F may be the “group of death” with only South Africa sitting outside the top ten world rankings by FIFA.  South Africa is currently 61st.   The United States is ranked first and their first opponent, France, sits sixth.

On The Outside

Colombia did finish fourth in the under-20 World Cup in Germany, but many do not expect that success to be duplicated.  South Africa, Cameroon, and New Zealand expect to be among the other teams out after round robin play.  If the Kiwi have a good showing in their opening match it could carry them on, but the host Great Britain squad is expected to dispatch of the All Whites.

There are a few teams that remain question marks, including the Canadian squad.  Canada has one of the most prolific female goal scorers of all time in Christine Sinclair, who has scored 137 international goals.  However, the supporting cast is lacking so the entire match has to be played through Sinclair’s feet.  However, Canada’s coach John Herdman is hopeful saying,

"We are working on the things that will hopefully take us through to the podium.  We are constantly working on four or five things, so hopefully those will be the things that get us there in the end."

The team with the biggest question mark is North Korea.  As one may imagine, not much is known about this squad.  They failed to advance to the knockout round in 2008.


Several nations have a shot at the podium but will need more consistent play and a little bit of luck to go their way.  Sweden comes off a third place finish in the World Cup.  They are usually solid and have qualified for all five Women’s Olympic tournaments.

Great Britain has the emotional edge playing the Olympic tournament at home.  Kelly Smith will lead the team in what should be her first and only Olympic Games, as Great Britain makes the Games for the first time.  If her team has the ball to begin the match tomorrow she could have the first touch of the Games on home soil, undoubtedly a magical moment for her.  Smith is full of memories including how she learned the game mentioning,

"From the age of seven I played for my local boys’ team in Garston.  There were no girls’ teams and by the time I was nine I had run into trouble. I was the standout player on that boys’ side, dribbling around players and scoring goals and making the opponents look a bit silly. That didn’t go down well with the parents of those other teams. They weren’t happy I was a girl and so they objected and said: ‘We won’t play against her anymore.’"

At the risk of getting the wrath of a football powerhouse, Brazil also fits in this category.  They will fight with Great Britain to get out of the group.  The window of time seems to be closing despite Marta and Cristiane still leading the ways.  Marta has not won an international championship with the Brazilian National Team.  They are prolific scorers and can be mesmerizing with the ball, but the team is weak in defending.

Medal Contenders

We have detailed the United States, who is the favorite going into the Olympic Games.  Japan is widely considered the second best team coming off of the World Cup victory over the U.S. team.  Technical is the best descriptor of the Japanese that also had the emotion of playing for a country devastated by tsunami during the World Cup.  Regardless, Homare Sawa and Aya Miyama will lead the team with intentions of standing on the podium.

We previously described the French team that open against the United States.  They have done nothing but improve over the last year.  They come off a 2-0 victory over Japan this past week at their last tune up before the games.  They have the ability to score and are given a chance to make a major statement in the opening match.


The top two teams from each group and the two best third places nations will advance to the knockout round.  Brazil and Great Britain should advance from Group E.  Japan, Sweden, the U.S., and France should also move on.  The two best third place teams should be a tight race but Canada and North Korea will move on.

The knockout should then set up in this way:

U.S. Vs Canada

Brazil Vs North Korea

Japan Vs France

Great Britain Vs Sweden

U.S. will handle Canada with Brazil getting by North Korea.  France will get the mild upset over Japan and Sweden will advance.  This will set up the semifinals of U.S. and Brazil and France and Sweden.  The United States will win gold over France with Sweden once again taking the bronze in the consolation match.

 TV Listings (All times are Eastern)

10:30a – 11:00aMSNBCSoccer Pregame10:30am – 11:00amPregame before matches on July 25.
11:00a – 12:45pMSNBCWomen’s Soccer: GBR vs. NZL11:00am – 12:45pmLIVE
11:30a – 12:00pNBCSNSoccer Pregame11:30am – 12:00pmPregame before matches on July 25.
12:00p – 2:15pNBCSNWomen’s Soccer: USA vs FRA12:00pm – 2:15pmLIVE
1:45p – 3:30pNBCSNWomen’s Soccer: CMR vs. BRA1:45pm – 3:30pmLIVE
2:30p – 4:15pMSNBCWomen’s Soccer: COL vs. PRK2:30pm – 4:15pmLIVE
2:30p – 2:45pMSNBCSoccer Pregame2:30pm – 2:45pmMore pregame before matches on July 25.
4:00p – 6:00pNBCSNWomen’s Soccer: JPN vs. CAN4:00pm – 6:00pm
4:30p – 6:00pMSNBCWomen’s Soccer: SWE vs. RSA4:30pm – 6:00pm
6:00p – 12:30a (7/26)NBCSNWomen’s Soccer (replay)6:00pm – 12:30am (7/26)REPLAY: Olympic competition kicks off with women’s Soccer. Coverage includes Team USA’s opener versus France, Brazil facing Cameroon and defending World Cup champion Japan playing against Canada.

Thursday, July 26

12:30a – 7:00aNBCSNWomen’s Soccer (replay)12:30am – 7:00amREPLAY (from July 25): Olympic competition kicks off with women’s Soccer, including Team USA vs. France.

For full tv listings click here.