Average Group Ranking: 20

With three top 20 nations and one of the top African teams, Group E will be a tricky group for its occupants to navigate.  The group throws up a host of different styles from the technical and attacking Brazilians, the tactical and pragmatic China, the powerful Sweden and the well organised South Africa.  


Coach: Vadao

Ranking: 8

Average Age: 27

Average Caps: 39.7

Last 5 matches: W (AUS), L (CAN), W (CAN), L (CAN), W (RUS)

Key Players:  Andressa Alves (MF), Monica (DF), Marta (FW)

Winning on home soil is one of the hardest tasks in women's football.  In fact the last nation to do so is the famous American '99ers who claimed the 1999 Women's World Cup at a packed Rose Bowl. 

For Brazil, this Olympics is not only the chance to break that streak but also to gain respect in a nation that has struggled to embrace women's football despite the plethora of talent at its doorstep. The last decade has been the golden era for Brazilian women's football.  Lead by their superstar Marta, Brazil's host of talents - including Cristane, Erika and Formiga - have taken them to the brink of the ultimate prize.   For that generation of top talent, it is their last chance to claim that elusive gold medal.

In the quest for gold, the Federation have provided the team with more support than before and Vadao is hoping it will be enough to gel the experienced and the new generation emerging.  It is an exciting team with the forward third in particular - Andressa Alves, Debora and Raquel - all capable of assisting the old guard to record a final postscript for their careers.


Coach: Bruno Bini

Ranking: 12

Average Age: 24.3

Average Caps: 59.6

Last 5 matches: L (FRA), W (THA), W (THA), D (CRC), W (CRC)

Key Players:  Wang Shuang (MF), Li Dongna (DF), Wang Shanshan (FW)

Frenchman Bruno Bini has been tasked with shaping a young Chinese side as they continue their re-emergence on the world stage after a dormant decade.  Bini is no stranger to guiding a young side after piloting France's rise to the upper echelon of women's football.  However, the question will be how his coaching style will translate to a culturally different environment.

So far the signs have been mixed with the Steel Roses posting strong results in the AFC Women's Olympic Qualifiers to claim the second berth out of Asia.  Along the way they employed a more expansive, attacking game than that under Hao Wei.  China are solid side defensively but in this eclectic group, scoring goals will still be their biggest issue.

South Africa

Coach: Vera Pauw

Ranking: 54

Average Age: 25.1

Average Caps: 56 

Last 5 matches: L (NZL), L (USA), L (NED), W (ZIM), W (BOT)

Key Players:  Janine Van Wyk (DF), Roxanne Barker (GK), Jermaine Seoposenwe (FW)

If anyone thought South Africa were in Rio just to "make up the numbers" they would be re-thinking that assumption.  Under Vera Pauw, South Africa are aiming to mix the organisation and structure that is evident in European sides with the flair and creativity associated with African teams.  While recent results haven't gone their way on the scoreboard, Pauw would be encouraged by the performances of the team on the park.  Key for South Africa will be their captain Janine Van Wyk and goalkeeper Roxanne Barker.   


Coach: Pia Sundhage

Ranking: 6

Average Age: 26.4

Average Caps: 60.4

Last 5 matches: W (JPN), W (MOL), W (POL), W (SLK), D (NED)

Key Players:  Caroline Seger (MF), Nilla Fischer (DF), Lotta Schelin (FW)

Sweden put behind them a disappointing 2015 Women's World Cup to claim the remaining European spot for the Olympics earlier this year.  Coach Pia Sundhage is familiar with the Olympics schedule and what it takes to win the gold medal.  However the question remains, can she get the best out of a team with talent across the park?  

One of the keys for Sweden will be how their experienced spine - with Hedvig Lindahl, Nilla Fischer, Caroline Seger and Lotta Schelin - performs.  If that quartet are on song, there is certainly enough players in the supporting cast to make them a dangerous side.  The other key will be the performances of the younger players being blooded to take over for the next decade.  Many - like Stina Blackstenius - have had good starts to the season in the Damallsvenskan and it will be interesting to see how Sundhage, who has a tendency to go with the tired and tested, utilises them.  

Group Matches

3 August: Sweden v South Africa (Rio de Janeiro, 16:00)

3 August: Brazil v China PR (Rio de Janeiro, 19:00)

6 August: South Africa v China PR (Rio de Janeiro, 22:00)

6 August: Brazil v Sweden (Rio de Janeiro, 21:00)

9 August: South Africa v Brazil (Manaus, 21:00)

9 August: China PR v Sweden (Brasilia, 22:00)