Brazil hopes to loosen US grip on gold

The Myanmar Times - - Olympics -

A DOM­I­NANT United States team face stiff com­pe­ti­tion from hosts Brazil for a fifth Olympic gold medal in six Games, as the women’s foot­ball tour­na­ment kicked off Rio 2016 yes­ter­day.

The States’ quest for a fourth con­sec­u­tive gold be­gan against New Zealand late last night (Myan­mar time) in Belo Horizonte with both men’s and women’s tour­na­ments spread across six cities which hosted the 2014 World Cup.

The world cham­pi­ons are with­out all-time lead­ing in­ter­na­tional goalscorer Abby Wam­bach at a ma­jor tour­na­ment for the first time in over a decade af­ter she re­tired fol­low­ing the World Cup last year.

How­ever, un­like the men’s Olympic tour­na­ment, there are no age re­stric­tions on the play­ers that can be se­lected so the USA’s English coach Jill El­lis can call upon World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd, as well as the ex­pe­ri­enced Me­gan Rapi­noe and star striker Alex Mor­gan.

The USA are in need of a fast start as they face a huge clash with France on Au­gust 6 and end the open­ing stage of their cam­paign against Colom­bia in Manaus, nearly 3000 kilo­me­tres (1864 miles) away from Rio in the Ama­zo­nian jun­gle.

Co-cap­tain Becky Sauer­brunn ad­mit­ted pre­vi­ous suc­cess makes the Amer­i­cans heavy favourites to claim gold once more in the fi­nal at Rio’s iconic Mara­cana Sta­dium on Au­gust 19.

“We al­ways look for that next chal­lenge be­cause we con­stantly want to achieve that next level of great­ness,” she told US Soc­cer’s web­site.

“Peo­ple ex­pect us to win. We know what it ac­tu­ally takes to win and that comes with a dif­fer­ent level of ac­count­abil­ity and sac­ri­fice.”

Brazil have never won a foot­ball gold medal at the Olympics and al­though the women’s side won’t have the same pres­sure and ex­pec­ta­tion as their male coun­ter­parts, there is be­lief they can go one bet­ter than ex­tra-time de­feats to the USA in the fi­nals at the 2004 and 2008 games.

Five-time World Player of the Year Marta spear­heads a Brazil­ian side that also con­tains vet­eran de­fender Formiga, who will com­pete in her sixth Olympics.

“Al­though peo­ple say we don’t have to go and win the gold, for me, as some­one who has played at other Olympics, won two sil­vers and come close to the gold, I think we are obliged to win it,” said striker Cris­tiane.

Brazil faced a tough start at Rio’s Olympic sta­dium yes­ter­day against China, who qual­i­fied at the ex­pense of 2012 sil­ver medal­lists Ja­pan and reached the World Cup quar­ter-fi­nals in Canada last year.

Photo: EPA

Marta, the five-time World Player of the Year, hopes to con­tain Amer­i­can su­per­stars such as Carli Lloyd and Alex Mor­gan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.