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Netherlands routs Zambia 10-3 in Olympic women’s soccer

Netherlands routs Zambia 10-3 in Olympic women’s soccer
Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema jumps over Zambia’s goalkeeper Hazel Nali in Rifu, Japan on Wednesday. (AP)
Tokyo, Jul 21 (Agencies/AP) | Publish Date: 7/21/2021 1:51:02 PM IST

Vivianne Miedema scored four goals and the Netherlands routed Zambia 10-3 to open the Olympic women’s soccer tournament on Wednesday.

Miedema, the all-time leading scorer in the Women’s Super League, as well as the top career scorer for the Netherlands, had goals in the ninth, 15th, 29th and 59th minutes.

Lieke Martens added two goals for the fourth-ranked Netherlands, which advanced to the World Cup final two years ago in France but fell to the United States. The Tokyo Games are the Netherlands’ first Olympics.

Barbra Banda scored all three goals for Zambia, the lowest ranked team in the field at No. 104.

Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman is stepping down after the Olympics to lead England in the next World Cup cycle. Wiegman will be replaced by Portland Thorns coach Mark Parsons at the conclusion of the National Women’s Soccer League season.

This is also Zambia’s first appearance in the Olympics. Known as the Copper Queens, Zambia had played just once this year, a friendly with South Africa. The team’s scheduled tune-up match with Britain ahead of Tokyo was called off because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Sweden stuns US 3-0

Stina Blackstenius scored a pair of goals and Sweden once again stunned the United States at the Olympics with a 3-0 victory Wednesday in the women’s soccer tournament.

The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world and the favorites to win gold in Tokyo, were riding a 44-match unbeaten streak heading into the match.

But Sweden, ranked No. 5, has been the U.S. team’s nemesis of sorts in recent years. The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in the quarterfinals, the earliest U.S. Olympic exit ever.

Then in April, Sweden played the United States to a 1-1 draw in Stockholm, which snapped a winning streak dating back to January 2019, when the Americans lost to France in the run-up to the World Cup.

Blackstenius’ header into the far corner off a cross from Sofia Jakobsson in the 26th minute gave Sweden the first-half lead.

The United States came out stale, with its best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the post. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes for the second half, subbing in Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.

But Blackstenius scored again in the 54th minute, beating goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, as the Americans continued to struggle. Lina Hurtig then scored in the 72nd.

The loss was the first for the United States under Andonovski, who took over when former coach Jill Ellis stepped down following the team’s World Cup victory in France.

The Swedes were without Magda Eriksson because of injury. The team said she has been training, but because of the compact schedule of the tournament she was held out of the opener.

Tokyo is Sweden’s seventh Olympics. After eliminating the Americans on penalties in the quarterfinals five years ago, the Swedes went on to win the silver medal, losing to Germany 2-1 in the final.

The United States has four Olympic gold medals, more than any other nation. The team is vying to become the first to win Olympic gold following a World Cup title.

Sweden now leads Group G heading into Saturday’s game against Australia in Saitama, while the United States faces New Zealand. The top two teams in the group advance the knockout round. 

RESULTS 

Brazil 5-0 China 

Great Britain 2-0 Chile 

Japan1-1 Canada 

Zambia 3- 10 Netherlands 

Australia 2-1 New Zealand

 

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