FILE – In this Thursday, June 10, 2021 file photo, the United States women’s national soccer team starters pose for photographers before an international friendly soccer match against Portugal, in Houston. On Friday, July 9, 2021, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team “turned their backs” on a World War II veteran playing the national anthem at a game Monday. “Not true. No one turned their back on WWII Veteran Pete DuPré during tonight’s anthem,” the U.S. soccer communications team tweeted on Monday night. “Some USWNT players were simply looking at the flag on a pole in one end of the stadium. The players all love Pete, thanked him individually after the game and signed a ball for him.” (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
- 12 nations will participate for Olympic gold in women’s soccer beginning on Wednesday, July 21
- The US Women’s National Team (USWNT) is undefeated in 44 matches
- Read on for the odds and predictions to win each of the three groups and to win the tournament outright
Unlike on the men’s side, where the teams participating in Tokyo are made up of Under-23 squads, it’s the best of the best for Olympic Women’s Soccer and 2019 World Cup champions Team USA are the clear odds-on favorites to win gold.
The USA is the current back-to-back World Cup champion, having won the 2019 edition of the tournament, as well as in 2015. 2019 World Cup finalists Netherlands find themselves installed as second-favorites to win in Tokyo. The last Olympic champion was Germany in 2016, however, they are not participating this year.
The top two teams from each of the three groups will automatically advance to the knockout round, as well as the two best third-placed teams.
Group E Odds
Group odds as of July 19 at Bet365
Three of the top ten nations in the world meet in Group E. And then there’s Chile, making their Olympic debut. The Chileans made their World Cup debut as well in 2019 and got their first win at the competition over Thailand, 2-0. They finished 1-0-2 and didn’t advance as a third-place team though to the round of 16. They’ve had a decent run of form since going 8-2-4 (WDL) across all competitions including winning the Turkish Women’s Cup. However, in 2021, they’ve won just one of four matches but did hold the world no. 2 Germans to a 0-0 draw in their last friendly match in June.
The other three teams here all made it through to the round of 16 in the 2019 World Cup.
🇨🇱 READY FOR THE OLYMPICS!
🗣 “We are more prepared than two years ago for the World Cup” said Christiane Endler, captain of @LaRoja.#WomensFootball #Chile #Olympics #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/IrXg1PBPHQ
— El Femenino in English🌎 (@ByElFemenino) July 14, 2021
Great Britain is a side made up of mostly English stars, but also Caroline Weir of Scotland and Kim Little of Wales. They’ll play as Great Britain, instead of “England” same as they did in 2012. With a core of English players, we can look to England’s results in 2019. The Three Lions made it all the way to the semifinals, losing 2-1 to the USA, before also losing 2-1 to Sweden in the third-place match.
The England version of this team hasn’t been in great form heading into the Olympics. They’ve won just four of 12 matches since the World Cup. In 2021 in three friendlies, they won 6-0 over Northern Ireland and lost 2-1 to France and 2-0 to Canada.
The Japanese are one of the form teams coming into the Olympics and will obviously have home advantage. Since losing to the Netherlands at the World Cup in the round of 16, they’ve won ten times and lost just three. All three losses came at the SheBelieves Cup. But in 2021 they are a perfect 5-0 in friendlies, outscoring their opponents 28-1. Manu Iwabuchi, a striker who plays who club soccer for Arsenal, will be one to watch for the Nadeshiko. She’s scored six goals, to go with four assists in her past five international matches.
From teenage debut
To best in Canada
To best goal scorer in the world
Glory From Anywhere 🍁
4 days until we cheer on #TeamCanada athletes like Christine Sinclair at #Tokyo2020 🤩@sincy12 | @CanadaSoccerEN pic.twitter.com/yaC1MG89q4
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) July 19, 2021
Team Canada has won bronze in back-to-back Olympics. They also feature Christine Sinclair up top, who despite now being 38-years-old, is the all-time men’s or women’s goalscorer.
2021 has been an up and down year for Canada. They defeated Argentina at the SheBelieves Cup but lost to the USA and Brazil. They’re undefeated in their next four, all friendlies, with wins (3-0 over Wales and 2-0 over England) and two draws (0-0 Czech Republic and 0-0 Brazil).
In good form and at home I’ll pick Japan to come out on top in this group with Great Britain in second and Canada advancing as a third-place team.
Group Winner: Japan
Group F Odds
There are three nations in Group F that are all ranked 15th or higher in the FIFA rankings. Then there’s Zambia, a lowly 104th, who qualified by virtue of advancing through the CAF qualifying and defeating Cameroon over two legs. They won once, to go with two defeats at the COSAFA Women’s Cup in the fall and haven’t played a match since 3-1 friendly loss to South Africa in April.
The Zambians are massive +4500 underdogs in their first match against the Dutch (-8000 favorites) and barring some sort of miracle should be happy to simply not get blown away in their three group stage matches.
2019 World Cup finalists Netherlands meanwhile have been busy playing many warm-up friendlies against some of the top sides in the world this year. They’re 4-2-0 (WDL) in their six 2021 friendlies. The Dutch have plenty of scoring options including Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal) and Lieke Martens (Barcelona).
4 years ago we signed a Dutch baller that goes by the name of Lieke Martens. 4 years later she’s the queen of Spain👑🧡 pic.twitter.com/uizatBrYmX
— Mohammad Al-Khalil (@mo__khalil) July 12, 2021
Second-favorites in this group Brazil, advanced as one of the best third-placed teams in the 2019 World Cup in France, only to be eliminated by the hosts in the round of 16. They come to Tokyo off the back of a 0-0 draw with Canada and 3-0 win over Russia in recent friendlies. Earlier this year they were 2-0-1 (WDL) at the SheBelieves Cup, with wins over Canada and Argentina and a 2-0 loss to USA.
China could also only make it to the round of 16 at the last World Cup, losing to Italy. But since, they have lost just once in their past ten matches. They’ve played fellow groupmate Brazil to a 0-0 draw, winning on penalties at the Yongchaun Tournament. They earned their ticket to Tokyo by defeating the Korea Republic in Asian Olympic qualifying.
I’m picking the Dutch to claim top spot in Group F, followed by China and Brazil as a third-place team to advance.
Group Winner: Netherlands
2022 FIFA World Cup Odds Tracker
Group G Odds
Outright favorites USA are unsurprisingly also heavily favored to top Group G. That should be no surprise given they haven’t lost a single match since a 3-1 loss to France in a friendly back on January 19, 2019. Since they’ve gone an incredible 40-4-0 across all competitions. In fact, under head coach Vlatko Andonovski, the team still is still undefeated at 19-1-0.
Their last defeat that wasn’t a friendly came all the way back on July 27, 2017, at the Tournament of Nations against Australia, an opponent in this competition.
Since that defeat with Australia, the teams drew 1-1 in their next meeting and USA won 5-3 the match after. This is a team loaded with veteran talent from Crystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn at the back, Julie Ertz in the middle and the likes of Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe upfront, and that’s just to name a few.
🗣️ “I feel physically stronger and fitter than before I was pregnant.”
🇺🇸 As the @Olympics looms, @AlexMorgan13 has been telling us about motherhood, motivation and maintaining @USWNT’s sky-high standards 🔝#OlympicFootball | #Tokyo2020
— FIFA Women’s World Cup (@FIFAWWC) July 19, 2021
It would be a shock if the USA didn’t win this group. However, Sweden has given them some trouble in the past. They tied 1-1 in a friendly earlier this year. The USA then won 3-2 in 2019 in a friendly and 2-0 at the World Cup in recent meetings. But of course, it was the Swedes who knocked the USA out of the Olympics in 2016.
Sweden will also be confident coming to Tokyo having not lost since the Algarve Cup in March 2020. They’re currently undefeated in 12 matches. Oddly, we’ve already seen a preview of several of this group’s matches in 2021. Sweden has the aforementioned 1-1 draw with the USA, as well as a 0-0 draw with Australia in 2021 friendlies. The Swedes have qualified for every Olympic competition since women’s soccer was added in 1996.
‘She’s phenomenal’ Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson explains Sam Kerr’s IT factor. pic.twitter.com/sBr2oJrcZ4
— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) July 16, 2021
The Matildas of Australia enter the Olympics in the complete opposite form though. They haven’t won since qualifying matches against Vietnam last year. In 2021 they are 0-1-4 in friendlies and have been outscored 14-4. These matches have all come against strong sides like Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Japan.
The strong opposition in those warm-up matches will at least have them more prepared than New Zealand. The Football Ferns haven’t played at all in 2021. They’re also just 1-0-8 since June 4, 2019.
There’s little reason not to expect the USA and Sweden to be advancing from Group G and likely in that order.
Group Winner: USA
2020 Olympic Women’s Soccer Outright Odds
|Team (FIFA Rank)||Odds|
|Great Britain (6)||+800|
|New Zealand (22)||+10000|
Odds as of July 19 at DraftKings
It’s hard not to have a bet on the USA. In the history of women’s soccer being an Olympic competition, they’ve made the final five of six times. They’ve won Olympic gold in each of 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012, while finishing with silver in 2000. The last Olympics in 2016 was the only time they failed to reach the final, bowing out in the quarterfinals to Sweden. Germany is the defending champ as 2016 gold medalists, but aren’t even this edition of the games.
Catch the 🇺🇸 in action as the #Tokyo2020 Group Stage kicks off on Wednesday! 👀📺 pic.twitter.com/0J1nxN7Mos
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 18, 2021
Whereas some teams may be working on including new players into their national program, the USWNT is taking an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach. There are more players aged over 30 on the roster than those under 30 and all but one were a part of their 2019 World Cup victory. Nine players have been capped 100 times or more.
The knockout round in this tournament lines up like this.
On one side of the bracket is:
And then on the other side:
This means that if USA does finish first in Group G, they’ll be playing a third-place team in the quarterfinals. From there it’s the winner of Group E or another third-place team to get into the final.
Don’t underestimate Japan (or Canada): Your guide to women’s Olympic soccer https://t.co/oZ1OjgFsld
— National Post (@nationalpost) July 19, 2021
On the other side of the bracket, if we assume Netherlands comes out on top of Group F, they’re playing a tougher quarterfinal opponent. It could likely be Sweden, or Australia or maybe, even the USA. A Netherlands vs Sweden quarter is quite possible, with the winner playing a second-place team from Group E or F. This would definitely be the tougher side of the bracket and picking a finalist from this side could present some value. This is where you could look at Netherlands, Sweden or Great Britain. A small group stage parlay of the USA and Netherlands to win their respective groups also comes in at +124 odds.
I wouldn’t look any further down the odds board though than the hosts Japan as big 14-1 longshots to win outright.
But at the end of the day, the USA look primed to return to the podium as gold medalists.
Outright Winner: USA