| Event type

Football, Women

Date6 – 21 August 2008
LocationQinghuangdao Shi Ao Ti Zhongxin Tiyuchang, Qinhuangdao / Shanghai Tiyuchang, Shanghai / Shenyang Aolinpike Tiyu Zhongxin Tiyuchang, Shenyang / Tianjin Aolinpike Zhongxin Tiyuchang, Tianjin / Gongren Tiyuchang, Beijing
Participants195 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to single-elimination tournament of four teams.

The women’s tournament was well attended, with seven of the quarter-finalists of the 2007 World Cup competing. (The only missing team was England, because Great Britain does not enter Olympic football tournaments.). Remarkably though, the last team to qualify was losing finalist Brazil, which had did not qualify directly from the continental qualifier. Other title contenders were Germany, the World Champion, and the United States, two-time Olympic Champion.

The favourites had a tough preliminary round, with Germany and Brazil opening against each other in a goal-less draw, while the US lost their first match to Norway. But the trio made it through to the semi-finals, supplemented by Japan, which upset the host nation in the quarter-finals. Led by star players Cristiane and Marta, the Brazilians took revenge for the lost World Cup final, beating Germany 4-1. Their opponent in the final was the same as in Athens. The United States overcame an earlier goal by Japan to win 4-2, and reached their fourth Olympic final in the fourth Olympic football tournament for women.

Like the previous women’s finals, the last match was a close affair. After the full 90 minutes, neither of the teams had scored. For the third time in succession, the Olympic final went into overtime. After six minutes, midfielder Carli Lloyd opened the score with a shot from just outside the box. Both teams then had good goal scoring changes in the remainder, but failed to convert them, and the United States won their third Olympic gold medal. With Germany winning the bronze medal match, the three podium nations were the same as they had been in 2004.

Though the US women had won Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004, World Cups in 1991 and 1999, and never failed to be on the podium at either event, the past year had been tumultuous for the American team. At the 2007 World Cup, the US faced Brazil in the semi-finals. The US goal keeper throughout the tournament had been Hope Solo, but US coach Greg Ryan benched her for the match against Brazil, replacing her with Brianna Scurry, formerly the top US keeper, but now in the twilight of her career. With Scurry in goal, Brazil crushed the Americans 4-0. Solo did not go quietly, telling the press quite firmly that her benching should not have happened, and that she would not have allowed those goals. After those remarks, Ryan threw Solo off the team for the bronze medal match and the US players refused to allow her to return to the team. Ryan was fired as national coach shortly after the World Cup. It was not until Sweden’s Pia Sundhage (a 1996 Olympian) was chosen to replace Ryan as coach that Solo was invited back to the national team.

Then shortly before the Beijing Olympics, further problems arose for the US in a friendly against Brazil. In that match, their final warm-up for the Olympics, American star striker Abby Wambach broke her tibia in a collision with Andreía Rosa. Wambach had surgery and could not play at the Olympics. With her scoring prowess missing, and the uncertainty of Solo in goal, the United States was considered somewhat of a mystery team in Beijing.

1United StatesUSAGold
5People's Republic of ChinaCHN
9Democratic People's Republic of KoreaPRK
10New ZealandNZL

Preliminary Round

Date6 – 12 August 2008

Group E

1People's Republic of ChinaCHN21075-2Q
Match #106 Aug 17:00CanadaCAN2 – 1ArgentinaARG
Match #206 Aug 19:45People's Republic of ChinaCHN2 – 1SwedenSWE
Match #309 Aug 17:00SwedenSWE1 – 0ArgentinaARG
Match #409 Aug 19:45CanadaCAN1 – 1People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match #512 Aug 19:45People's Republic of ChinaCHN2 – 0ArgentinaARG
Match #612 Aug 19:45SwedenSWE2 – 1CanadaCAN

Group F

3Democratic People's Republic of KoreaPRK10232-3
Match #106 Aug 17:00BrazilBRA0 – 0GermanyGER
Match #206 Aug 19:45Democratic People's Republic of KoreaPRK1 – 0NigeriaNGR
Match #309 Aug 17:00GermanyGER1 – 0NigeriaNGR
Match #409 Aug 19:45BrazilBRA2 – 1Democratic People's Republic of KoreaPRK
Match #512 Aug 17:00GermanyGER1 – 0Democratic People's Republic of KoreaPRK
Match #612 Aug 17:00BrazilBRA3 – 1NigeriaNGR

Group G

1United StatesUSA20165-2Q
4New ZealandNZL01212-7
Match #106 Aug 17:00JapanJPN2 – 2New ZealandNZL
Match #206 Aug 19:45NorwayNOR2 – 0United StatesUSA
Match #309 Aug 17:00United StatesUSA1 – 0JapanJPN
Match #409 Aug 19:45NorwayNOR1 – 0New ZealandNZL
Match #512 Aug 19:45JapanJPN5 – 1NorwayNOR
Match #612 Aug 19:45United StatesUSA4 – 0New ZealandNZL


Date15 August 2008
FormatWinners of each match advanced to semi-finals.
Match #115 Aug 18:00United StatesUSA2 – 1CanadaCANAET
Match #215 Aug 18:00BrazilBRA2 – 1NorwayNOR
Match #315 Aug 21:00GermanyGER2 – 0SwedenSWEAET
Match #415 Aug 21:00JapanJPN2 – 0People's Republic of ChinaCHN


Date18 August 2008
FormatWinners of each match advanced to final round.
Match #118 Aug 18:00BrazilBRA4 – 1GermanyGER
Match #218 Aug 21:00United StatesUSA4 – 2JapanJPN

Final Round

Date21 August 2008
FormatMedal round.
Match 1/221 Aug 21:00United StatesUSA1 – 0BrazilBRAAET
Match 3/421 Aug 18:00GermanyGER2 – 0JapanJPN