Team GB’s women’s football team got their Olympic campaign off to a flying start after they beat Chile 2-0 on Wednesday at the Sapporo Dome in Hokkaido.
Manchester City’s Ellen White scored both goals to give boss Hege Riise the best start after what was viewed as a very difficult task. The Norwegian boss was appointed to take charge of Team GB alongside her interim role as England boss following Phil Neville’s early departure to become the head coach of David Beckham’s Inter Miami.
With 19 England players in her 22-woman squad, Riise made the challenge a little bit easier to help prepare the squad for Tokyo in such a short space of time. For their first competitive fixture in the Games in nine years, Team GB did not look like a side that rarely featured as they played with intensity and quality as White’s goals proved.
Her second strike was a moment of brilliance with an acrobatic volley which laid down Team GB’s foundations for the remaining games in the group. There was never any doubt in the quality within the squad, but as the squad falls under the bracket of Great Britain, players from all four home nations had to be considered for the squad and as the politics makes it harder to register a squad for each Olympics, the task of winning a medal is always viewed as a mountain to climb.
With a significant lack of preparation to their rivals, Team GB performed excellently and the other teams in the tournament will need to be wary of the threat they clearly possess. The camp will be feeling positive after that start. They did well out of possession as the players all supported each other and they pressed in groups.
Then, when they went through transition, Team GB liked to play with a fast tempo of one or two-touch passages which was a constant problem to a very shaky Chile defence.
World Player of the Year Lucy Bronze showed why she holds that title as she played brilliantly down the right flank, and she recorded a fantastic assist when she crossed into her City teammate White for the side’s second of the game.
She was also involved in the opening goal as her crossing ability shone through. Bronze picked the ball up on the right side of the penalty area and floated a ball to the back post which Lauren Hemp met to head it back into danger and White had a poacher’s finish from close-range.
Speaking after the game, match-winner White told the BBC, "I feel really proud to be part of Team GB and scoring and contributing to the team felt amazing."
“We had total respect for Chile and what they could bring to the game. We wanted to focus on what we could do. There were moments when we had really great play.
“There are still things we need to work on but we are really pleased with the three points and we're really looking forward to facing Japan next."