While the Olympics are already starting with plenty of controversy — and the health of athletes top of mind in light of the still-real COVID-19 pandemic — the soccer part of the competition is set to kick off overnight.
Five OL Reign players will be representing their countries in the tournament:
- Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle will be trying to help Team USA do what no country has ever done before: win Olympic Gold after winning the most recent World Cup.
- Nicole Momiki will try to help Japan earn a Gold Medal in their home country — something Japan has been building toward since the 2015 World Cup, when they lost to the U.S. in the final.
- Quinn will be trying to help Canada best their performance from 2016, when they walked away with a Bronze Medal — a repeat of their 2012 performance in London.
- Angelina was a late addition to Brazil’s roster after a teammate got injured. The 21-year-old — who previously captained Brazil’s U-20 squad — will feature in her first-ever major tournament with Brazil’s senior national team.
- Former Reign player Kim Little was also one of three players outside of England asked to join Team Great Britain. Recently departed Reign goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was also initially named to the Team GB squad before having to bow out due to injury. Steph Catley and Lydia Williams, who both played for the Reign, will be representing Australia in the tournament.
The women’s soccer tournament will be held from July 21 - August 6. Matches will take place in six cities in Japan, including host city Tokyo, which will host the women’s gold medal match at National Stadium. In addition to host nation Japan, 11 national teams will compete from six confederations.
The countries are divided into three groups of four teams, denoted as groups E, F and G to avoid confusion with the groups of the men’s tournament, which use A-D group designations. Teams will play three matches against their group opponents. The top two teams from each group, and the two best third-placed teams, advance to the quarterfinals. The first tiebreaker is points, followed by goal difference, number of goals scored, a few other specific head-to-head rules between teams, and finally fair play points.
For the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee recently adjusted the rule to allow national teams to carry 22 players on their squads, rather than 18 with four alternates that could only be called upon if a player got injured. Teams will still be limited to 18-player team sheets on matchdays.
Japan (Nicole Momiki)
United States (Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle)
How to Watch
First and foremost, the best way to watch these games is to never sleep. Matches kick-off between 12:30 AM and 4:30 AM PT. As a result, we probably won’t have too many game threads for live conversations. But be sure to set record on whatever devices you use to watch the games.
All U.S. matches will air on TV or can be viewed at NBCOlympics.com, Peacock, or the Telemundo Deportes App. Most of the group stage matches — even those not involving Team USA — will be aired by USA Network, Telemundo, or NBC Sports Network.
Up first for the U.S. is Sweden, who seems to always end up in the same group as the U.S. in major tournaments. Sweden is also the team that knocked the U.S. out of the 2016 Olympics. They’re a savvy, veteran side that plays really smart and is bound to give the U.S. some trouble in their opening match.
Here’s a table with match times and TV schedules for the group-stage games. Matches involving Reign players are bolded. View the full schedule for the tournament at NBCOlympics.com, and visit LiveSoccerTV for other TV and streaming options.
Replays are also available on the NBC Sports app, NBCOlympics.com, and on a delay over on Peacock.
Tokyo Olympics - Women’s Soccer Group Stage TV Schedule
|Wed., July 21||Group E||Great Britain vs. Chile||12:30 a.m.||Olympic Channel||Sapporo|
|Wed., July 21||Group F||China vs. Brazil||1 a.m.||NBCSN||Miyagi|
|Wed., July 21||Group G||Sweden vs. United States||1:30 a.m.||USA||Tokyo|
|Wed., July 21||Group E||Japan vs. Canada||3:30 a.m.||NBCSN||Sapporo|
|Wed., July 21||Group F||Zambia vs. Netherlands||4 a.m.||Olympic Channel||Miyagi|
|Wed., July 21||Group G||Australia vs. New Zealand||4:30 a.m.||USA||Tokyo|
|Sat., July 24||Group E||Chile vs. Canada||12:30 a.m.||TBD||Sapporo|
|Sat., July 24||Group F||China vs. Zambia||1 a.m.||TBD||Miyagi|
|Sat., July 24||Group G||Sweden vs. Australia||1:30 a.m.||NBCSN||Saitama|
|Sat., July 24||Group E||Japan vs. Great Britain||3:30 a.m.||TBD||Sapporo|
|Sat., July 24||Group F||Netherlands vs. Brazil||4 a.m.||TBD||Miyagi|
|Sat., July 24||Group G||New Zealand vs. United States||4:30 a.m.||NBCSN||Saitama|
|Tue., July 27||Group G||United States vs. Australia||1 a.m.||USA||Kashima|
|Tue., July 27||Group G||New Zealand vs. Sweden||1 a.m.||Miyagi|
|Tue., July 27||Group E||Chile vs. Japan||4 a.m.||Miyagi|
|Tue., July 27||Group E||Canada vs. Great Britain||4 a.m.||Kashima|
|Tue., July 27||Group F||Netherlands vs. China||4:30 a.m.||Yokohama|
|Tue., July 27||Group F||Brazil vs. Zambia||4:30 a.m.||Saitama|
Which matches are you look forward to? And who do you expect to medal during this Olympic tournament?