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Women’s Olympic Football: Who will win gold in Paris?

The 2024 Olympics get underway in Paris later this month as sport’s biggest multi-event competition comes to France.

Football has been a prominent part of the Olympics for over a century for men, before the introduction of football for women’s teams in Atlanta in 1996. This year’s tournament looks set to be hugely competitive with Olympic football in the women’s game a full senior-level tournament.

Canada are the holders after beating Sweden on penalties to win the gold medal at the delayed 2020 games in Tokyo but are considered only outsiders to retain that title. We’ve looked at the frontrunners to win gold in the Women’s Olympic Football in 2024.

Women’s Olympic Football: Who will win gold in Paris?

United States

The United States have been installed as the early favourite and are the most decorated nation when it comes to Women’s Olympic Football. After winning gold in the inaugural competition on home soil in Atlanta in 1996, the USA won three further golds in 2004, 2008 and 2012, a silver medal (2000) and a bronze last time out (2020).

The US bounced back from a hugely disappointing 2023 Women’s World Cup after exiting in the Round of 16, winning the Gold Cup in February and the SheBelieves Cup in April.

Emma Hayes has taken charge of The Stars and Stripes after a decorated spell at Chelsea that delivered seven Women’s Super League titles and is regarded as one of the finest coaches in the game.

There’s plenty of experience in the squad with four players boasting over 100 caps, though Hayes has said she is keen to focus on emerging talent. With an average age of just over 26, this is the youngest squad the USWNT has sent to the Olympics in 16 years.

Spain

Spain are world champions after beating England in the 2023 World Cup final and will start as strong favourites for gold. La Roja are far from faultless, as a 4-0 defeat to Japan in that tournament showed, but Spain are the best international team in the game right now.

The bulk of their squad comes from an all-conquering Barcelona team that won a quadruple in 2023-24, including two-time Ballon d’Or Féminin winner Alexia Putellas and current holder Aitana Bonmatí, perhaps the finest talent in the women’s game right now.

Spain will be tough to stop in their pursuit of first-ever women’s football medal at the Olympics.

France

France will have been disappointed with their performance at the World Cup last summer, though hopes will be high Les Bleus can bounce back at a home Olympics.

Herve Renard led the side to the Nations League final, suffering defeat to Spain, and has plenty of top-class quality in his squad.

France’s record scorer Eugénie Le Sommer remains part of the set-up and will want to add Olympic gold to an incredibly decorated career that has seen the forward win 13 league titles in France and a record eight European Cups with club side Lyon.

Wins over Germany, Sweden and England in 2024 show the strength of a talented if inconsistent France team, and PSG forward Marie-Antoinette Katoto will be key to their chances.

The 25-year-old has 29 goals in 39 caps and 168 in 196 appearances for PSG since coming through the club’s ranks.

Australia

Australia are aiming to build on a strong World Cup on home soil as the Matildas reached the semi-finals for the first time. The Olympic action will begin straight away for those who want to watch the Matildas in the group stage with heavyweight clashes against the USA, Germany and Zambia.

Australia will be without captain and record scorer Sam Kerr, who is out with an ACL injury, but Tony Gustavsson’s side coped well without the prolific Chelsea forward for much of last summer’s World Cup run.

There’s huge experience in their 18-player squad, with seven of the side having won more than 100 caps. A medal is not beyond Australia, who finished fourth in 2020, if the Matildas can navigate a tough group stage.

Germany

Only the United States have won more medals than Germany in women’s Olympic football, with three bronze placings and gold in 2016.

However, a group-stage exit at last year’s World Cup was a mammoth shock as one of the pre-tournament favourites crashed to an embarrassing early elimination.

 

DFB-Frauenteam will want to put that right at the Olympics and are on a five-game winning run, ahead of a tough group that features the USA, Australia and Zambia. There will be no room for error from Horst Hrubesch’s side.

Read – Euro 2024: Five players who impressed in the Round of 16

See more – Five defensive midfielders Premier League clubs are battling to sign

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