Chelsea Women in the Olympics: What to expect

As the summer Olympics approach, eleven Chelsea FC Women players are making their way to Tokyo looking for a gold medal.

Our Blues will be representing five different countries–Sweden, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada. Despite being the reigning champions of Women’s Football at the Olympics, Germany failed to qualify for this year’s tournament leaving Melanie Leupolz and Ann Katrin Berger out of the competition.

Sweden

Three Blues will be wearing the Swedish crest, including captain Magdalena Eriksson. Just like Eriksson, Jonna Andersson will be returning for her second Olympics aiming for a gold after 2016’s silver medal. Goalkeeper Zećira Mušović was originally called up as an alternate, but due to changes in the policies, which allow the four alternates to join the official squad, Mušović is now part of Sweden’s roster.

While being called up for the Olympics is a massive achievement, Mušović will most likely not be a starter for the tournament as former Chelsea player Hedvig Lindahl currently holds the spot as Peter Gerhardsson’s number one goalkeeper, and BK Häcken Jennifer Falk is normally the second. 

Eriksson and Andersson are both regular starters for the Swedish team and will most likely bring a great impact for the team, which has their first game on the 21st of July against the United States–who were shockingly eliminated by the Swedes in 2016–at 5:30 PM Tokyo time. Their group also includes New Zealand and Sam Kerr’s Australia

Sweden is coming to the Olympic games as strong contenders to the title as reigning Silver medalists and World Cup Bronze medalists. 

Great Britain

Great Britain is the team with the biggest number of Chelsea players.

English players Fran Kirby, Carly Telford, Niamh Charles, and Millie Bright will be joined by the Welsh captain Sophie Ingle wearing the British crest. 

Neither Telford or Charles were included in the original roster, the additions being made as goalkeeper Karen Bardsley stepped down from the games giving Telford her spot, and just like Musovic, Charles was included in the roster after the rule changes.

Kirby, Bright and Ingle were three names that were expected to be present in the squad, all of them being key players for Chelsea. 

The key player Fran Kirby
Fran Kirby could be an England star at the Olympics, the Chelsea striker is one to look out for. Credit | Getty Images

Great Britain tends to have a good rotation system between their goalkeepers, meaning Telford should have some starts in the tournament along with Manchester City’s Ellie Roebuck. Kirby, Bright and Ingle should all start most games and while Charles might not be a regular starter, she will surely come as an essential sub. 

Great Britain shares a group with Japan, Chile, and Canada, the first game being against Chile on the 21st at 4:30 pm local time. 

Canada

Jessie Fleming will be the only Chelsea star representing Canada. 

The 23 year old committed to UCLA in 2014, having her debut for the Bruins in 2016. During her time in Los Angeles, she earned first team All-Pac-12 and was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy. Right after graduating, Fleming joined Chelsea Women on a third year deal.

During her first year for Chelsea, Fleming won the Community Shield, the Continental Cup and the Women’s Super League and reached the Champions’ League final. 

Fleming made her senior debut for Canada in 2013, at just 15 years old. After that, she went on to be named as part of the 2015 World Cup squad at 17, and most recently the 2019 one. The Tokyo Olympics will be her second, as she won a Bronze medal in 2016.

Expectations are that Fleming will be a regular starter for Canada, whose first game is against Japan on the 21st at 7:30 pm local time. 

Netherlands

When I started writing this and listed the countries where we could see Chelsea players, the Netherlands didn’t cross my mind. But yes, there is a Dutch Blue! 

Our recent signing, defender Aniek Nouwen, has been named as part of the 22 Dutch players going to Tokyo this summer. 

Nouwen started her senior career in 2016 at PSV, and got her senior international debut in 2019, at age 20. For PSV, Nouwen had 69 caps and a total of 15 goals, while for the Netherlands she has 15 caps and one goal.

Nouwen is a young player who can bring squad depth to Hayes’ Blues. In recent International friendlies, she has been a regular starter, which can suggest that the same will happen in Tokyo.

The Netherlands are the current European champions and World Cup runner ups and are definitely a team that their group, which includes Brazil, China and Zambia, will have to look out for.

Their first match is against Zambia on July 21st at 8 pm local time.

Australia

We have the captain! 

Sam Kerr was one of the names everyone knew was going to be in the Matilda’s roster. After 12 years in the senior team, 88 appearances, and 42 goals, Kerr will do everything she can to bring the gold medal down under for the first time in their history.

Kerr holds multiple goal-scoring records in the NWSL and the W-League, and is expected to put the ball on the back of the net multiple times for Australia!

Australia shares a group with Eriksson’s Sweden, the United States, and their neighbors New Zealand, who they play against on the 21st at 8:30 pm.

Sam Kerr wanting to rise to the big occasiona against Barcelona Femeni in the Champions League
Sam Kerr hoping to star as Chelsea Women get ready to play at the Olympics. | Credit: Reuters

Chelsea at the Olympics

Most Blues have great chances of being regular starters in the Tokyo Olympics, and all of them are playing for countries that have a good chance of going far in the tournament.

The only two I would not put my money on are Mušović and Charles. Mušović, being a goalkeeper, already has less chances, and Hedvig Lindahl is really consistent for Sweden. Charles started as an alternate, so while I’m sure she will have some game time, I don’t believe she will be a starter. Both of them are extremely talented players that would be great for their teams, but it’s understandable that the managers might not want to try new lineups in a tournament as big as the Olympics.

My expectations are that all players will move on to the knockout stage, and that we will be seeing some of them in the big final!

Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)

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