Olympic Soccer 2021: TV Schedule, Live Stream and Wednesday Match TimesJuly 20, 2021
The United States women's national team could not have asked for a better opponent to start its path to winning a gold medal at the Summer Olympics.
Five years ago, the USWNT's dominance at the event was disrupted by Sweden on penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round.
The two-time defending Women's World Cup champion should have plenty of motivation to knock off the Swedes on Wednesday morning to gain an early edge in Group G.
Each of the 12 women's soccer teams that qualified for the Tokyo Olympics will be in action across Japan on Wednesday.
Group play will be completed over a six-day span. The top two teams in each of the three groups, as well as the two best third-place teams, will advance to the eight-side knockout round.
Wednesday Olympic Soccer Schedule
Great Britain vs. Chile (3:30 a.m. ET)
China vs. Brazil (4 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
United States vs. Sweden (4:30 a.m. ET, USA)
Japan vs. Canada (6:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Zambia vs. Netherlands (7 a.m. ET)
Australia vs. New Zealand (7:30 a.m. ET, USA)
All games can be live-streamed on the NBC Sports app.
USWNT Looking For Olympic Revenge Over Sweden
Wednesday's USWNT-Sweden match does not carry the same stakes as their last Olympic meeting, but it is still an important clash in the tournament.
The Americans are viewed as the favored side, and Sweden stands in their way of a strong start to Group G play.
Sweden is the only squad to earn a result off the USWNT in 2021 after playing to a 1-1 draw on April 10 in Stockholm.
Since then, the USWNT has not conceded a goal in six matches. It outscored five different opponents 17-0 in that stretch, which started with a 2-0 triumph over France.
The USWNT has the deepest squad in the tournament and arguably one of the most loaded rosters to ever enter an Olympics tournament.
Nine players on the roster have over 100 international appearances, including five of the six forwards and three of the four starting defenders.
The only lineup questions for USWNT boss Vlatko Andonovski will be which players start at forward and if Julie Ertz is healthy enough to play any minutes.
Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan are the forward options that he has to choose from. All of those players have at least 35 international goals. Lloyd and Morgan have a combined haul of 236 tallies.
Ertz did not play in any of the buildup matches while recovering from an injury. If she is not fit to start, Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan and Samantha Mewis should start in midfield.
Sweden is no slouch of an opponent, but it might be outclassed on the day by the USWNT. It finished second at the 2016 Olympics and third at the 2019 Women's World Cup.
Sweden has four centurions within its squad, led by midfielder Caroline Seger, who has 213 appearances.
If the Swedes cause any trouble to the USWNT defense, it will be through Stina Blackstenius, who netted three goals in the final three matches prior to Tokyo.
Even if Sweden's forwards find some space, it may be hard to create chances against a USWNT defense that conceded once in 2021.
Wednesday's match should be the most competitive one for the USWNT in the group stage, but its overall talent should push it ahead over the 90 minutes.
Japan Trying To Start Home Olympics On Right Foot
The Japan women's national team has been building up to the Olympics for a few years.
Japan worked its young players into the squad during the 2019 Women's World Cup with eyes on having them perform well on home soil.
In 2021, the Olympic host nation has not lost a contest in five games and most recently beat Australia on July 14. However, the Matildas are the only foe in that group of matches that will participate in the Games.
Japan received a tough draw against Canada, Great Britain and Chile, and it may be difficult for it to get out of Group E in one of the top two positions.
Canada has won back-to-back bronze medals, and this is probably the last time Christine Sinclair will get a shot at winning gold.
The 38-year-old is the most decorated scorer in all of international soccer with 186 goals in 299 appearances.
Canada's younger players have done the bulk of the scoring in recent matches. Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince, both 26, were the goal scorers in the 3-3 friendly with the Netherlands last week.
Canada did not win any of its three final tune-up matches in the last month, but it should have the better players on the field in Sinclair, Beckie, Jessie Fleming and Kadeisha Buchanan.
If Canada is strong in defense, it should find a way to score one or two goals to start the tournament off on a high note.