The USA Women’s soccer team has won four of the five Gold Medals in the Summer Olympics and the Stars and Stripes will have their work cut out for them. Let’s handicap who might make it out of Group play and make a logical pick on which women’s team has the best chance to bring home the Gold Medal.
Women's Gold Medal Pretty Much a Four-Nation Fight with US Heavy Chalks
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro begin in less than a month and one of the more popular events in the quadrennial event is the Women's Soccer (Football) tournament which will have 12 teams from six different Confederations competing for the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in 26 matches at seven different sites in six cities across Brazil including the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro—where the Women's Gold Medal match will be held on Friday, Aug. 19 (NBCSN, 4:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 p.m. PDT)—as well as preliminary matches at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange in Rio, São Paulo, Brasília, Salvador, Belo Horizonte and Manaus, all host cities during the 2014 FIFA Men's World Cup. The 12 teams will play three matches each in the Group Stage, with 8 of the teams—the three Groups 1st- and 2nd-place finishers along with the two best 3rd-place teams—advancing on to the Knockout Round.
In seeking their fourth straight Gold Medal, Head Coach Jill Ellis and the USA (+175 to in Gold Medal at Bovada) will have to play Colombia (FIFA #24, Aug. 9)—a team the US Women just beat twice by a combined 10-0 margin—New Zealand (FIFA #17, Aug.3) and Louisa Nécib (Lyon) and France (FIFA #3, Aug. 6) in its Group (G).
Here are the three Women's Soccer groups (E, F and G)—the Men are using A, B, C and D—for the Summer Games of the XXXI Olympiad (Aug. 6-21)—which will have 406 events in 26 different sports in 18 different existing venues with 207 nations participating—the competition's round schedules as well as the current (July 11) updated Futures Book odds (Outrights) from online sportsbook operator Bovada. And unlike the Men who are restricted to using players (all but three) players who are under 23 years of age, there are no absolutely no age restrictions in the Women's Olympic Soccer (Football) event. And like the Men's Soccer (Football) tournament in these coming Summer Olympic Games, the Women's tournament will actually begin (Wednesday, Aug. 3) before the Opening Ceremonies (Friday, Aug. 5). So individual (Group Stage) match bettors beware.
2016 Summer Olympic Games—Women's Soccer Draw
Group E—Brazil, China, South Africa, Sweden
Group F—Germany, Australia, Canada, Zimbabwe
Group G—USA, France, Colombia, New Zealand
Women's Olympic Soccer Tournament Schedule
Wednesday, Aug. 3: Group Stage matches
Saturday, Aug. 6: Group Stage matches
Tuesday, Aug. 9: Group Stage matches
Friday, Aug. 12: Quarterfinals
Tuesday, Aug. 16: Semifinal
Friday, Aug. 19: Bronze Medal Game
Friday, Aug. 19: Gold Medal Game
Women's Soccer Gold Medal Winners
2012—United States (London Games)
2008—United States (Beijing Games)
2004—United States (Athens Games)
2000—Norway States (Sydney Games)
1996—United States (Atlanta Games)
Odds to Win Women's Soccer Gold Medal Game
United States +175
New Zealand +6600
South Africa +12,500
Usual Soccer Suspects Should be Fighting For the Gold Medal in Rio
Shooting for its fifth Gold Medal in this sixth-ever Women's soccer competition in a Summer Olympic Games seems like no big thing for 34-year-old GK Hope Solo (197 Caps) and tournament chalks USA (+175 to win Gold Medal at Bovada) but nations like France (FIFA #3), Brazil (FIFA #8) and Canada (FIFA #10) are all making strides and when you're the top dog in a specific sport like the USWNT has been in Women's Soccer over the past two decades, well, then you're usually going to get the others guys' (girls') best effort when you meet on the pitch.
And while much will be made about the USWNT, France (+550 to win Gold Medal at Bovada) and 30-year-old captain and MF Marta and host nation Brazil (+600 to win Gold Medal at Bovada), the one team to really watch and maybe for the USA to worry about in these Summer Olympic Games could be Germany (FIFA #2). Die Nationalelf (The National Eleven) and Head Coach Silvia Neid have a Roster loaded with talent including Striker Anja Mittag (Paris Saint-Germain; 137 Caps, 42 Goals for German National Team), Striker Alexandra Popp (67 Caps, 33 Goals; VfL Wolfsburg), MF Melanie Behringer (116 Caps, 29 Goals, Bayern Munich, Frauen-Bundesliga), MF Dzsenifer Marozsán (59 Caps, 27 Goals; Lyon) and MF Simone Laudehr (97 Caps, 26 Goals; 1. FFC Frankfurt).
So Germany (+290 to win Gold Medal at Bovada) and the USA may be on a collision course in a Gold medal game, and, fortunately for of us all—and for the both of them—they are in different halves of the Women's Bracket—presuming each wins its respective Group and that isn't a foregone conclusion with Germany having to face upstart Lisa de Vanna (112 Caps, 39 Goals; Melbourne City) and Australia (FIFA #5) as well as Canada (FIFA #10) in Group Stage play. But the Rosters speaks volumes and the linemakers numbers are spot on here and it seems that Germany is much deeper and has much higher expectations than do the Matildas and captain Christine Sinclair (236 Caps, 139 Goals, Portland Thorns) and the Canucks.
A potential USA-Germany Gold Medal match would be a toss-up in a way and maybe getting Germany at betting odds of +290 right now may end up being the best value move in the long run. Don't listen to anyone telling you this is the USA's tournament (Gold Medal) to lose. This is a very tough field at a very hostile Site (with its Controversy) where Weather and conditioning may end up playing a big part. But it's hard not imagine anyone other than the Red, White and Blue or Germany winning the Gold Medal here. And with players like GK Solo (Seattle Reign), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars) and the clutch Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), who have all played together for so long, it's easy to see why the Oddsmakers have made this USA team the prohibitive favorite betting pick. They really do have that something special.
2016 Summer Olympics Women's Soccer Gold Medal Pick: United States +175
Best Line Offered: at Bovada