With no age restrictions in place, the top women footballers from across the globe are set to represent their respective national teams in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games. The women’s football tournament will kick off Wednesday, July 21, two days ahead of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games, and it will conclude on August 6.
Ahead of the start of the mega event; here we take a look at the top 15 footballers to watch out in the 2020 Summer Olympics:
For Zambia to achieve Olympic glory in women’s football in Tokyo, their Shanghai Shengli striker Barbra Banda will have to be at her drastic best. Banda became a sensation in women’s football after she scored 15 goals in 28 games for Spanish club Logrono when they were battling relegation. After her heroics in Spain, she was signed by Chinese team Shanghai Shengli in January 2020 and she still hasn’t stopped scoring.
She was the leading scorer in the Chinese Women’s Super League’s in 2020, with 18 goals.
Débora Cristiane de Oliveira, also popularly known as Debinha, is another player to watch out for. She is a two-time NSWL champion. In 2019, she was named the Most Valuable Player in the Championship game in 2019. The Brazilian striker was once described as “one of the best players in the world" by the U.S. women’s national team boss Vlatko Andonovski. The ace forward is known for her ability to create chances out of thin air, her electrifying run and killer passes.
Chile’s Olympique Lyonnais’ goalkeeper Christiane Endler is counted as one of the best ball stoppers in the world by many. She was also named in FIFPro World XI last year. During 2020-21, she was in incredible form as she registered 19 clean sheets for Paris Saint-Germain in 22 games and in the process guided them to their first French league title.
She recently signed with PSG’s rivals and seven-time European champions Lyon.
The New Zealand defender Abby Erceg might not be as popular as American and European footballers but she counted as one of the most decorated players of the Football Ferns. Erceg is a three-time NWSL Championships winner and was awarded the tournament’s defender of the year in 2018.
The Swedish right back Hanna Glas hogged the media headlines last year after her sensational performance with Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Munich boss Jens Scheuer was so impressed with her performance, that he went on to label her as “one of the best right-backs in the world”.
England’s 20-year-old Man City striker Lauren Hemp is another player to watch out for. She was named England Young Player of the Year in 2017. She was also awarded PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2018 and 2020
The American midfielder Lindsey Horan provides USWNT with a serious threat in the middle, she has been involved in 55 goals in 98 appearances for the United States to date.
Japan’s Arsenal forward Mana Iwabuchi is a World Cup (2012) winner and an Olympic (2012 London Games) silver medalist, she will provide the Japanese team with much-needed experience on the international level in the colossal event.
Kim Little is a Scottish born footballer and represents Arsenal in the Premier League. The 31-year-old midfielder is one of three non-British players representing England in the Olympics, she is also one of their three captions. Little is known for her creativity on the field that helps her in controlling the game at any stage.
Australia’s Chelsea striker Sam Kerr won the WSL Golden Boot for the just-concluded season with 21 goals to her name from 22 games. She is also the front runner for the golden boot at the upcoming Summer Games.
Marta Vieira da Silva is counted as one of the greatest footballers of all time. The Brazilian striker is dubbed as “Pele in skirts”, a moniker that even the great Pele himself promotes. She was also part of the Brazilian squad that reached the finals at the 2004 Olympics, 2007 World Cup and 2008 Olympics, however, the ace footballer is running out of her time and it could be her last opportunity to attain glory on the international stage.
The Netherlands’ Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema is the most feared footballer in the world at the moment. Last year, she became WSL’s all-time leading goal scorer at the age of just 24. She is also the Netherlands leading goal scorer with 73 goals under her belt in 96 games.
Christen Press was forced to miss out on most of the games in the past season due to illness. However, she is again reaching her peak with her national team. So far, the 32-year-old has contributed to nine goals (five goals and four assists) USWNT in 2021 and she will be raring to get going in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
At age of 38, the 2020 Tokyo Games is likely to be Christine Sinclair’s final appearance in the Olympics and the ace striker will look to leave a lasting impression on the world by winning the elusive gold medal with the Canadian team.
Wang Shuang is China’s most talented footballer. However, she is still looking for a chance to showcase her talent on the international level and the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games provides her with the perfect opportunity.