Neymar, Portugal and the Australian Woman Football Team; 3 points from the opening round of Olympic Football

With the Opening Ceremony comes the completion of the opening round of the men’s and women’s football. The opening group stage games has produced some interesting results in both competitions and raised some serious points for though heading into the second round kicking off later today Brazil time.

Here’s some talking points we’re thinking about heading into the next round of competition.

  1. The Neymar Factor

Already from the first game against South Africa, it’s becoming evident the important role that Neymar Jnr will play if Brazil are going to go anywhere in this tournament. Their opening game was underwhelming at best and seemingly could be considered to reflect the overall status of Brazilian football at the moment. Brazil looked like a one-man team, with Neymar seemingly carrying the attack.

Brazil even failed to capitalise when South Africa were reduced to 10-men, despite the relentless onslaught in the last 20 minutes of the game.

The challenge now for Brazil is to prove they’re more than just Neymar in their next two group games with Iraq and Denmark. Like the World Cup two years ago, this tournament could really be Brazil’s to lose.

2. Portugal look hella’ good

Watching Portugal v Argentina, it was evident from the get-go that Portugal were up an about, whilst Argentina, despite their promise at times, looked lethargic in the first half. Was this just a case of opening game blues for Argentina? Maybe, but one thing that is certain is that Portugal will go deep into this tournament.

Excitement has swept Portuguese football since the national team’s European Championship victory last month and that can be seen through the intensity of the players on the pitch. Portugal looked superior in attack and Gonçalo Paciencia’s goal in the 66th minute was a direct result of that; strong, fluid attacking movement.

That’s not to say that Argentina didn’t look that bad either. Overcoming their first half woes, they probably should have hit the front early in the second, but Jonathan Calleri’s chip shot narrowly hit the crossbar. Portugal’s second goal from a keeping error sealed Argentina’s fate in this game, but the Argentinian’s still showed some promise in final moments of the game, notably a bicycle shot through Giovanni Simeone stopped on the line.

Portugal are going places, Argentina should too. Potential final match-up if Brazil stuff up?

3. The Australina Women’s team have a lot of work to do

The fastest goal conceded in an Olympic history isn’t a great way to start of any Olympic campaign. The Matilda’s 2 – 0 loss to Canada can’t be sugarcoated. Plain and simple, there’s a lot that needs to change quickly if Australia’s Women’s team want to pick up a Gold medal.

Chances weren’t an issue, many times the girls came painstakingly close to hitting the scoresheet on a number of occasions, but nothing really came off. Defence on the other hand looked slow. Canada on many occasions sped through the Australian defence into a one-on-one situation with Australian keeper Lydia Williams.

One the other-hand, Germany, Brazil, France along with the USA all produced the goods in strong performances. Expect the competition to get tougher from here with games against Germany and Zimbabwe up next.

Even if they do make it out of the Group stage, tournament favourites and reigning world champions the USA are going to be hard to topple for the Gold.

What do you expect from the Olympic Football tournament. Who’s your tip? Tell us on Facebook.

Jacob Arnott