| Event type

Football, Women

Date3 – 19 August 2016
LocationEstádio do Maracanã, Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro / Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, Engenho de Dentro, Rio de Janeiro / Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha, Brasília / Minerão, Belo Horizonte / Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador / Arena Corinthians, São Paulo / Arena da Amazônia, Manaus
Participants203 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to single-elimination tournament of four teams.

As the reigning Olympic champions, World Cup holders and ranked number one by FIFA, the United States went into the 2016 tournament as very clear favourites. They had an outstanding Olympic record, winning four of the five finals up to 2016, and finishing second in the other, to Norway after sudden-death extra-time in 2000. Seven members of their squad had already won Olympic gold, including goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was going for a record fourth gold in Rio. USA also had the reigning Word Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd, in their squad.

Being on home soil, Brazil, the 2015 Pan-Am champions, looked likely to provide stiff opposition to the USA. Their team included the five-times Word Player of the Year Marta, and 38-year-old midfielder Formiga, an ever-present since the first Olympic tournament in 1996, thus playing in her sixth Games. The European challenge was expected to come from France, FIFA ranked three, and the talented Germans, twice World Cup winners and three times Olympic bronze medallist, and the number two ranked team by FIFA.

The tournament got off to a great start with Janine Beckie of Canada scoring the fastest goal in Olympic history, when she netted after just 20 seconds against Australia on the first day of the tournament. It beat by 10 seconds the goal scored by Oribe Peralta of Mexico in the 2012 men’s final against Brazil. Sadly for Beckie, her record stood only two weeks until bettered by six seconds by Brazil’s Neymar in the men’s semi-final against Honduras.

The United States qualified as top of their group despite being held by Colombia in their final group game. It was Colombia women’s first ever point in the Olympics. In the USA’s 1-0 win over France, Hope Solo became the first goalkeeper in the world, male or female, to win 200 caps. Germany also qualified for the knockout stage, but only as the second best team in their group behind Canada. They were held to a surprise 2-2 draw in their second group game by the Australians after coming from two goals down and scoring a late equaliser. Australia had the youngest member of the football tournament (men and women) in their squad - 16 -year-old defender Ellie Carpenter. To make matters worse for the Germans, they lost their final group game 2-1 to Canada. Brazil qualified from their group as the only South American nation in the last eight, while Germany were joined by fellow Europeans Sweden and France, and China and Australia made up the quarter-finals.

The first last eight match saw one of the biggest upsets in women’s Olympic football history as the United States lost to Sweden in the first ever women’s penalty shoot-out. It was also the United States’ first defeat in the Olympics since a 2-0 loss to Norway in a group match in 2008. The US coach who guided them to gold that year, and again in 2012, was Pia Sundhage, and she was now Sweden’s head coach who masterminded their win over the USA in 2016. After the match, Hope Solo called the Swedes “A bunch of cowards”. These remarks earned her a six month suspension from the US team after the Olympics and the termination of her US Soccer Federation contract after 17 years.

Shortly after Sweden’s win in that first ever penalty-shoot out, along came a second when Brazil beat Australia 7-6 on penalties after finishing goalless after 120 minutes. The semi-finals were made up with world number two Germany beating China 1-0 and world number 10 Canada surprising the third ranked FIFA team, France, by the same scoreline.

All four teams in the semis were searching for their first Olympic title and the Brazilian women were hoping to achieve that goal before their male counterparts, albeit by a day, but it was not to be. Just as they did in their win over the USA, Sweden approached the game against Brazil with a defensive attitude and were happy to keep the game goalless for 120 minutes and take the game to penalties. They were all square in the shoot-out when Andressa’s spot kick was saved and Dahlkvist scored the winning goal for the Europeans. Germany made it an all-European final after beating 2012 bronze medalists Canada 2-0 with goals from Melane Behringer and Sara Däbritz.

Having lost out on the chance to become Brazil’s first Olympic soccer champions, the ladies team was hoping at least for a bronze medal but it was Canada who opened the scoring in the bronze medal match in the 25th minute through Deanne Rose who, at 17, was the youngest member of the Canadian squad. They increased their lead on 52 minutes through Christine Sinclair and they seemed to have secured the bronze medal, but when Beatriz scored for the hosts 11 minutes from time it set up a tense finale. Canada held on for back-to-back bronze medals as they became the first Canadians to win consecutive medals in a Summer Olympics team sport since they won lacrosse gold in both 1904 and 1908.

Both Sweden, ranked six, and Germany, ranked two, were in the women’s final for the first time and, for Sweden, it was at the sixth time of asking, having appeared in every edition since women’s football first appeared at Atlanta in 1996. They had never won a medal previously and Germany’s best finish was third on three occasions. The final was a repeat of the 2004 bronze medal match, which Germany won 1-0.

After a goalless first half at the Maracanã, Dzsenifer Marozsan put Germany ahead three minutes into the second half, with a curling finish. Their lead was extended on 62 minutes when Linda Sembrant put through her own goal after Marozsan’s free-kick hit the post. Five minutes later Sweden pulled a goal back when a cross from Kosse Asslani was turned into the goal by Stina Blackstenius, but one goal was not enough and Germany won 2-1. It was their first ever women’s Olympic football gold medal, and the first for the German nation since the GDR men took gold at Montreal in 1976.

5United StatesUSA
8People's Republic of ChinaCHN
9New ZealandNZL
10South AfricaRSA

Preliminary Round

Date3 – 9 August 2016

Group E

2People's Republic of ChinaCHN11142-3Q
4South AfricaRSA01210-3
Match #103 Aug 13:00SwedenSWE1 – 0South AfricaRSA
Match #203 Aug 16:00BrazilBRA3 – 0People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match #306 Aug 19:00People's Republic of ChinaCHN2 – 0South AfricaRSA
Match #406 Aug 22:00BrazilBRA5 – 1SwedenSWE
Match #509 Aug 22:00BrazilBRA0 – 0South AfricaRSA
Match #609 Aug 22:00People's Republic of ChinaCHN0 – 0SwedenSWE

Group F

Match #103 Aug 15:00CanadaCAN2 – 0AustraliaAUS
Match #203 Aug 18:00GermanyGER6 – 1ZimbabweZIM
Match #306 Aug 15:00CanadaCAN3 – 1ZimbabweZIM
Match #406 Aug 18:00GermanyGER2 – 2AustraliaAUS
Match #509 Aug 16:00AustraliaAUS6 – 1ZimbabweZIM
Match #609 Aug 16:00CanadaCAN2 – 1GermanyGER

Group G

1United StatesUSA21075-2Q
3New ZealandNZL10231-5
Match #103 Aug 19:00United StatesUSA2 – 0New ZealandNZL
Match #203 Aug 22:00FranceFRA4 – 0ColombiaCOL
Match #306 Aug 17:00United StatesUSA1 – 0FranceFRA
Match #406 Aug 20:00New ZealandNZL1 – 0ColombiaCOL
Match #509 Aug 19:00ColombiaCOL2 – 2United StatesUSA
Match #609 Aug 19:00FranceFRA3 – 0New ZealandNZL


Date12 August 2016
FormatWinners of each match advanced to semi-finals.
Match #112 Aug 13:00SwedenSWE1 – 1United StatesUSAAET, 4-3 PS
Match #212 Aug 16:00GermanyGER1 – 0People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Match #312 Aug 19:00CanadaCAN1 – 0FranceFRA
Match #412 Aug 22:00BrazilBRA0 – 0AustraliaAUSAET, 7-6 PS


Date16 August 2016
FormatWinners of each match advanced to final round.
Match #116 Aug 13:00SwedenSWE0 – 0BrazilBRAAET, 4-3 PS
Match #216 Aug 16:00GermanyGER2 – 0CanadaCAN

Final Round

Date19 August 2016
FormatMedal round.
Match 1/219 Aug 17:30GermanyGER2 – 1SwedenSWE
Match 3/419 Aug 13:00CanadaCAN2 – 1BrazilBRA