Image: Wikimedia Commons / Jon Candy
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Jon Candy

Team GB triumph over Chile in Olympics opener

Manchester City star Ellen White scored twice as Team Great Britain opened their Olympic campaign with a 2-0 win over Chile at the Tokyo Games. In what was Team GB’s first official match since their quarter-final defeat to Canada at London 2012, Hege Riise’s side controlled proceedings against their South American opponents

With Scotland vice-captain Kim Little positioned in attacking midfield, Team GB lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for the opening game of the women’s football tournament at the Tokyo Olympics. And although Lauren Hemp and Georgia Stanway provided a threat from the wide areas, it was right-back Lucy Bronze who was vital to Great Britain’s success in the final third.

In fact, it took just 18 minutes for Bronze, FIFA’s Women’s Player of the Year for 2020, to race down the flank and chip what proved to be an irresistible cross to the far post. With Hemp winning the initial aerial duel, the ball fell to White in the six-yard box. From close range, she was never going to miss.

Team GB continued to exert pressure after their opener, forcing PSG and Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler into several errors on either side of the break. 

On 70 minutes, White struck again – this time with an acrobatic effort following a looping cross from Bronze.

With the game played indoors, Great Britain continued to press for a third goal in the closing stages but were unable to find time as legs began to tire. 

At full-time, interim boss Risse praised her team’s stability on both sides of the transition:

“The strategy since we started working together has been to keep possession, control the game, play in behind, over the back line.

Team GB will have to beat better teams than Chile if they are to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics

“[In the] first 30 minutes we looked great and then it became a bit slower, we had chances, we totally deserved three points and we kept them away from our goal – that was important.”

After failing to score at London 2012, White expressed relief at finding the net against Chile. “It felt amazing,” White told reporters in Japan, “the first one was disallowed but I feel really proud to be part of Team GB and scoring and contributing to the team felt amazing.”

Great Britain resume their Olympic campaign on Saturday with an 11:30 AM kick-off against tournament hosts Japan, with a win enough to see Risse’s side qualify for the knockout stage with a game to spare.


Analysis:

Team GB will have to beat better teams than Chile if they are to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. 

For much of Great Britain’s opening game against Chile, goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck was merely a spectator. You should expect the Manchester City shot-stopper to be busier against Japan and Canada to close out the group stage.

Of Great Britain’s stars, it was Lucy Bronze who shone brightest – even though Ellen White scored a brace. Bronze, attacking down the right with absolute freedom, was a joy to watch against Chile and will be key if Hege Risse’s side are to go all the way at these games.

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