Vivianne Miedema, Marta: 5 standout stars from the women’s football Olympic openers

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The women’s football tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is well and truly underway.

After just six matches, we have already had a plethora of goals, an upset and some standout performances. GiveMeSport Women selects the five players who really shone.

Vivianne Miedema, The Netherlands

Although she is only 25-years-old, Vivianne Miedema is already one of the most prolific strikers in the world. She became the all-time top scorer for the Dutch women’s team in 2019, and has scored the highest number of goals in Women’s Super League history.

It should be no surprise to anybody that Miedema started her Olympic campaign well, hitting four goals past Zambia as the Netherlands romped to a historic 10-3 victory. The forward is already in pole position to finish the tournament as top scorer, and will likely score more against Brazil and China in the remaining Group F matches.

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Barbra Banda, Zambia

Zambia may have been on the end of a 10-3 thumping from the Netherlands, but Barbra Banda still managed to make her mark on the game.

The 21-year-old scored Zambia’s first ever goal at the Olympics in the 19th minute, before grabbing a second and third in quick succession in the last 10 minutes of the match. With the Netherlands ranked fourth in the world and Zambia 104th, this hat-trick was no mean feat.

Banda’s goalscoring exploits will be familiar to China, who Zambia face next in Group F. She finished as top scorer of the Chinese Women’s Super League last year during her debut season with Shanghai Shengli.

Kim Little, Great Britain

Midfield maestro Kim Little was in imperious form as Team GB comfortably beat Chile 2-0 in Group E. The Scot played in the number 10 role during the match and was able to dictate the game, carrying the ball forward to create attacking chances for her English teammates.

Little received even more praise for an audacious nutmeg just past the hour mark. She was given the ball in her own half by Caroline Weir, before turning and easing the ball through the legs of Chile’s Francisca Lara. She continued on her marauding run before feeding the ball into the path of Lauren Hemp.

Team GB will face tougher challenges in the shape of Japan and Canada up next. They will hope Little will be able to continue her dominant performances in the middle of the park.

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Stina Blackstenius, Sweden

Although Sweden are a tough team to face, the United States were widely considered the favourites to win their Group G clash due to their status as four-time Olympic and world champions. Stina Blackstenius was the star of a rampant Swedish team who stunned the Americans and earned a 3-0 victory.

Blackstenius scored a glancing header in the 25th minute, before doubling her tally in the 54th minute. Her second goal gave the Swedish team the confidence to go on and score a third.

The 25-year-old Blackstenius has been a reliable goalscorer for Sweden since making her debut in 2015. She scored her country’s goal in a 1-1 draw with the US in the quarter-finals at Rio 2016 – a match Sweden went on to win in a penalty shootout.

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Marta, Brazil

Marta became the first footballer to score a goal at five consecutive Olympic Games during Brazil’s match against China. She hit the back of the net twice, contributing to an emphatic 5-0 victory for the Brazilians.

At 35-years-old, Marta’s leadership of the Brazilian side cannot be understated. Her calming presence was clear to see during today’s match, and she will be aiming to captain her side to the gold medal in Tokyo.

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