Women’s football at the 2020 Olympics has already reached the knockout stages after the group stage drew to a conclusion with matchday three on Tuesday.
All eight remaining teams came into the competition with genuine medal hopes and none have disappointed so far, with the group stage throwing up nothing unexpected in term of surprise qualifiers for the knockout rounds.
Great Britain and Canada took the automatic knockout places from Group E, with Netherlands and Brazil automatically qualifying from Group F and Sweden and USA coming from Group G.
There were two further quarter-final places on offer to the two best third placed teams, which were Australia and hosts Japan. Zambia were the third placed side that missed out, while Chile, China and New Zealand were knocked out by finishing bottom of their respective groups.
Great Britain vs Australia
Sweden vs Japan
Netherlands vs United States
Canada vs Brazil
All four quarter-final ties will be played on Friday 30 July.
The tie of the promises to be that between Netherlands and United States. The Dutch scored a ridiculous number of goals in the group stage – 21 in three games – and the Americans have struggled by their own usual standards and pre-tournament expectations.
Great Britain/Australia vs Sweden/Japan
Netherlands/United States vs Canada/Brazil
Each semi-final will be played on Monday 2 August, with the two winning sides going on to contest the gold medal match at the Japan National Stadium on Friday 6 August. The two losing semi-finalists will fight for bronze 24 hours earlier on Thursday 5 August.
It is plausible to think that Netherlands could eliminate a clearly vulnerable and sub-par United States team in the quarter-finals, denying the Americans a medal for the second successive games.
The Dutch would also be fancied to beat either Canada or Brazil in the semis.
On the other side of the bracket, Sweden look likely contenders to keep progressing after such an impressive group stage and it is increasingly difficult to see anyone beating them to gold.
Great Britain could make the semi-finals and perhaps land a bronze medal.
Bronze: Great Britain