Olympic Women's Soccer 2004 - COMMENTARY
August 10, 2004
WSW review of Olympic matches tomorrow
Sweden vs. Japan
This could be the best game of the day. Japan is the most improved of all the teams taking part, and could be a major upset team in this tournament. Mix their discipline, speed, skill and physical endurance with two dangerous forwards like Homare Sawa, and Mio Otani and anything can happen.
Sweden like Germany are now believers in themselves. They have slowly regained their position as one of the top five teams in the world, and their attractive attacking game is a delight to watch.
Sweden's size will be an advantage but Japan is physically well prepared and can be lethal up front. An early goal will be the important key.
Germany vs. China
Germany's experience should be able to control this match against a young and inexperienced China squad that badly misses a"Sun Wen" up front. Finishing is still a problem for the Chinese.
Brazil vs. Australia
This game is difficult to assess since both teams lacked competition with the world's top level teams in their preparation. In addition, one never knows which Brazil team is going to show up at top level competitions. This one is a mixture and old, with the emphasize on young and new. They are naturally skilled in ball control but seem mentally fragile, reacting negatively when the game is not going their way.
Australia is talking tough as usual, but that may motivate a team that is superior in skill and ball control. Probably will be a very physical game. If Brazil scores early it will be difficult for the Matildas.
Greece vs. USA
This game has a lot of meaning for both teams. It is a culmination of dreams and hopes for the Greek players, and particularly for their visionary Head coach Xanthi Konstantinidou who has been the driving force in raising the standard and recognition of women's soccer in Greece.
They will be playing a team that is well prepared, highly motivated, and in much better condition than they were at the time of the 2003 FIFA World Cup. A squad with tremendous player depth and equal talent sitting on the bench.
The USA squad also have an emotional investment in this Olympic Games with the presence of veterans representing their country in the last international tournament of their long careers. Ironically the example set by these Goddesses of soccer was responsible for encouraging the commitment to the women's game in Greece by Konstantinidou.