Can Pia Sundhage lead Brazil women to an Olympic gold medal?
Brazil arrives at the Tokyo Olympic Games with real chances for a medal in both men’s and women’s football. Only once in history have the two teams been on the podium at the same Olympics. This was in Beijing 2008, when the men won silver and the women won bronze. At Rio 2016, men were champions, and women were fourth.
The Olympic cycle for the women’s team was one of ups and downs, with changes in coaches and a ninth place in the World Cup after an overtime elimination for France, which hosted the host. At the moment, optimism hovers in the selection, especially after the arrival of Swedish coach Pia Sundhage, who boats a lot of experience with three Olympic medals.
Taking the results of the Olympic cycle, the American team again appears as the favorite, followed closely by three very strong European teams: Sweden, Great Britain and Holland. Brazil appears in the fight for the medals. In recent months, Brazil faced the USA, lost 2-0, but showed good football in the victories over Canada (2-0) and a 3-0 win over Russia.
Is the women’s soccer team favorite? No. But of course there are real chances for the podium and even gold, mainly due to the talent of the players and the obedience and tactical confidence of the team in the coach.
The biggest decision made by Sundhage was perhaps the one to leave out veteran forward Cristiane from her squad. This will be the first time since 2004 that the trio Marta, Formiga and Cristiane will not be together on the field at the Olympic Games. Regardless, the women’s team can still fancy their chances of winning.
Brazil are trying, for the second time in history, to go to the podium twice in the same football Olympics. Only time will tell what becomes of those ambitions.