Women's Olympic Soccer 2012: Best 5 Players So Far

Hayden BirdCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2012

Women's Olympic Soccer 2012: Best 5 Players So Far

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    The women's soccer competition at the London Olympics is almost through the group stage, and the top teams are starting to separate themselves.

    The usual juggernauts, Brazil and the United States, have got off to predictably perfect starts.

    Meanwhile, Great Britain have given the home fans plenty to cheer about by winning both games so far as well.

    Group F, which is void of all three perfect teams, is a battleground. Canada, Japan and Sweden are all still capable of finishing first in the group.

    So far, it's been difficult to analyze which players have risen to the top.

    Nevertheless, let's take a look at a few.

Megan Rapinoe

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    Continuing where she left off last year in Germany at the World Cup, Rapinoe has been instrumental in the U.S. getting off to such a good start.

    No one was more capable when America went down 2-0 to France in the first game.

    Her clever attacks and perfect crosses helped to jump-start the USA comeback.

    With one goal and a staggering four assists through only two games, she's tallying Rajon Rondo-like numbers (or perhaps it's Rondo who tallies Rapinoe-like numbers?).

Marta

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    She's arguably still the most gifted women's soccer player on the planet.

    With two goals and countless moments of excellent play in the tournament so far, Marta once again warrants a place on this list.

    Her goal-scoring and general havoc-wreaking tendencies will be of the utmost importance for Brazil if they hope to wrest control of the gold away from the two-time defending champion Americans.

Stephanie Houghton

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    Houghton pushed the home team to a win against New Zealand to open the competition, before icing a second victory over Cameroon in a 3-0 win.

    Great Britain share a group with Brazil. Therefore, it was important to get the most out of those first two games.

    Thanks largely to Houghton, the team has collectively achieved that goal.

    Going forward, it will be critical that she continue to find the net.

    That being said, yet to concede a goal, it was almost the British defense that made this list.

Abby Wambach

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    As one of the most recognizable faces in women's soccer, Wambach obviously draws the complete and undivided attention of every defense she faces.

    What she probably didn't count on was drawing the fist of Colombian defender Lady Andrade, who blatantly punched Wambach in the face while the two were running side by side in the first half of the USA-Colombia game.

    Nonetheless, Wambach refused to be provoked, and focused on grinding down the Colombians.

    She went on to net her second goal of the tournament, and the U.S.'s second of the game to effectively put the contest out of reach.

    This, of course, was after the first game in which her first goal got the American offense underway. Wambach helped to inspire a spectacular comeback, turning a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead.

    She might not be as young as she once was, but there has been no drop in quality from the powerful Wambach.

Cristiane

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    The veteran Brazilian has only added to her already impressive Olympic career in 2012.

    By sniping a goal in the first game (a rout for Brazil) and again in the second (a narrow 1-0 win over New Zealand), she has reached a record 12 all-time Olympic goals.

    It's an impressive feat, but Cristiane would probably be more satisfied with the performance of the team.

    Like any Brazilian who has been around the national team in the last four years, she probably still has a bitter taste in her mouth about the way this team lost to the Americans in extra time in 2008.

    In the World Cup last year, an epic Wambach goal with virtually no time remaining only added to that heartbreak.

    With teammate Marta also firing on all cylinders, Cristiane will be looking for revenge.