Great Britain’s women’s football team get the Olympics underway on Wednesday afternoon in Cardiff and are 4/9 to mark the occasion with a win that, due to the 12-nation format, will leave them with a foot in the quarter-finals.
Despite never having played in an Olympic tournament before and being 14/1 outsiders for a gold medal, they appear to be in a more advantageous position than their male counterparts.
Experienced England coach Hope Powell is in charge and at her disposal is a far less thrown together group, with no age restriction and many of the players she led to the quarter-finals of last year’s World Cup, beating eventual winners Japan en route.
They won’t underestimate New Zealand though, who like the country’s men’s team continue to improve and produced their most impressive performance on a global stage at the last World Cup despite not actually claiming a victory.
That didn’t stop them from giving England a fright, forward Sarah Gregarious firing them into an 18th-minute that they were able to hold until the final half hour, when Team GB member Jill Scott and later Jessica Clarke spared their blushes.
New Zealand didn’t lose by more than one goal at the World Cup, scoring in every game, and the only side to defeat them heavily four years ago on their Olympics debut were eventual champions USA.
On account of those trends, there is reason to believe that another 2-1 outcome is on the cards at 7/1, while odds of 3/1 on the encounter being level at half-time with Great Britain’s greater quality showing after the break also appeal.
Team GB are unbeaten so far having won a behind closed doors match with South Africa 3-1, though their first public outing with Sweden ended goalless at the Riverside Stadium last Friday, and Powell expects New Zealand to be as tough.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.