Guess what: The Olympics actually begin on Wednesday with six women’s soccer games. Here’s a quick schedule and some notes on each game.
All times EDT.
Noon: Sweden vs. South Africa (NBCSN)
Sweden, a 2012 Olympic quarterfinalist, is coached by Pia Sundhage, who led the U.S. women to gold in 2008 and 2012. South Africa is playing in its second international competition after also qualifying for the 2012 London Games, where it could manage just one point in group play.
2 p.m.: Canada vs. Australia (NBCSN)
Canada finished with bronze in London after losing in the semifinals to the United States on Alex Morgan’s goal with mere seconds remaining in extra time. The Matildas, as the Aussies are known, are back in the Olympics for the first time since 2004, though they have made the quarterfinals of the last three World Cups.
3 p.m.: Brazil vs. China (USA Network)
Silver medalists in 2004 and 2008, the Brazilians are led by Marta and her 92 career goals, the most of any women’s player in the Olympics, and Cristiane, who holds the Olympic record with 12 career goals. China has not advanced past the quarterfinals of either the World Cup or Olympics since finishing second to the Americans at the 1999 World Cup.
5 p.m.: Zimbabwe vs. Germany (USA Network)
Playing in its first international tournament, Zimbabwe is ranked 93rd in the world. Things could get ugly Wednesday against the Germans, No. 2 globally behind the United States, though Die Nationalelf never has done better than bronze at the Olympics.
6 p.m.: United States vs. New Zealand (NBCSN)
The most recent World Cup champion and three-time defending Olympic gold medalists, the Americans are the clear-cut favorites in Rio. The Football Ferns, who went winless at last year’s World Cup, don’t stand much of a chance here.
9 p.m.: France vs. Colombia (NBCSN)
France, ranked No. 3 in the world, finished fourth at the 2011 World Cup, fourth in London four years ago and made the World Cup quarterfinals last summer in Canada. Colombia made its first Olympic appearance four years ago in London but failed to score in three group-stage games.