Quarter-final qualification for Team GB was already confirmed but as they took to the field in Kashima, Hege Riise’s side were looking to keep up momentum as they signed off from the group stages. Team GB have been quietly going about their business in Japan, two wins from two and yet to concede a goal. But their opponents on the day, Canada, have proved somewhat of a nemesis of late for England, with both after top spot in Group E.
Into the unknown we went – a delayed Olympics during a pandemic; an empty Sapporo Dome; a Team GB team the world had yet to see play. The build-up has been a long one. Decisions have been analysed to death and media days have been plenty but now was the time for the talking to stop and the action to start; for Team GB to set out their stall and try and put some of the less positive whispers to bed.
We are less than 24 hours away from the start of the Olympics. After what has seemed like the longest build up in the world (in fact, it has literally been the longest), Team GB and Chile will take to the field at the Sapporo Dome to officially kick off Tokyo 2020.
Good things come to those who wait. It may sound cliché but in the case of Chelsea, England and now Team GB goalkeeper, Carly Telford, it rings true.
“I’m really excited. I grew up watching the Olympics; I still watch the Olympics…all the different sports are going on and it’s just such an exciting time. It’s exciting to be a part of this Team GB history and it’s one that I’m really, really proud of and one that I know comes with a lot of responsibility.”
Many an athlete will tell you that the Olympics is the ultimate competition to be involved in. To be an Olympian carries the hopes of your nation. It is an opportunity for stars from a variety of different sports to shine on a global stage, enjoy the limelight and represent their country.
This time last year, we were preparing for another She Believes Cup in America, unaware of all the things 2020 was going to throw at us. For Phil Neville and England, they were struggling for form off the back of the World Cup in France, but were heading into the tournament as cup holders with hopes of a fresh start.