One of the toughest things when trying to project what’s going to happen in a tournament as it progresses is how much a single performance matters in the context of the entirety of it. Great Britain was awesome against Cameroon, arguably the best game I’ve seen anyone play at the Olympics to date. But was it because Britain was that good or was Cameroon – even though they seemed to be playing hard – that poor? And even if it was Britain, can they replicate it in the next few outings? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but I was encouraged.
1) Great Britain may be able to challenge for the gold medal yet
They won’t be favorites against the United States, Japan, or France, but the Great Britain lineup really doesn’t have any weaknesses right now that can be easily exploited. You worry about their attacking prowess with Kelly Smith not 100 percent, but Karen Carney was able to get forward, and I was extremely impressed by Kim Little, even before her backheel pass led to a Jill Scott goal. Jill Scott also had an excellent match and can get forward from her holding midfield spot as well. The backline looked good, Karen Bardsley is probably the second best keeper in the tournament right now, home crowd behind them. I’m talking myself into them having a good chance to win. Which is probably their death knell. Sorry.
2) Cameroon is either unlucky or still has a long way to go
It’s interesting that I still think Cameroon is doing a decent job even though they’ve been outscored 8-0 in two games. What does that mean? I really don’t know. They won’t advance, but their finale against New Zealand will be big for their confidence going forward. I think two of the best performances in this tournament have come against them, but if the same happens against New Zealand, it will be hard to keep making the argument that they’re unlucky. Heading toward 2015, Cameroon could use some points from the Olympics.
3) Great Britain’s game against Brazil will mean more to them
The Team GB women head to Wembley for the first time in the tournament against a world power with the world’s best player in front of what should be a very big crowd. Surely, that will pump them up in a large way. But for Brazil, winning the group would be nice and get a little easier draw (probably Canada in the quarterfinals instead of Sweden). Then again, Marta tends to feed off crowds like this, so Wembley could be in for a good show. Which should be fun.
It was a lopsided 63-37 in favor of Great Britain, which explains a little how Cameroon committed a whopping 24 fouls in this match. Yikes.