Great Britain’s women’s football team will play New Zealand in the opening event of the Olympic Games at the Millennium Stadium on 25 July.
They will then face further group games against Cameroon and Brazil.
There are no team selection restrictions for the women’s competition and head coach Hope Powell said she was looking forward to three exciting group fixtures,
“Brazil will be a great game at Wembley, they are always there or thereabouts in major tournaments.
“Now it is down to our preparations. We have every chance of progressing but we can’t take it lightly. We played New Zealand in the World Cup last year and it was a very tough encounter. Cameroon are an unknown quantity.”
Powell believes London 2012 will at last provide a platform for showcasing the sport in a country where it long been male-dominated.
She said the event will help put the female version of the game on the map and narrow the gap with other countries, such as Germany and the United States, where it is far more popular.
“I travel round the world and meet people from different [football] associations,” she said.
“They put their success down to having the complete and total backing of the association from the start. They have invested heavily in their game because they believed in the product.
“They believed they were good enough to win things but recognised that they would have to invest in it and initially lose some money.
“We struggle with that sometimes – it is [about] trying to convince decisionmakers that we have a really good product and we need to invest more money; but money is not readily available so we need more resources.
“If we want to compete with Germany, we need to look at what they have achieved. At the moment, we are not close; if we want to win things we need to bridge that gap.
“The fact we are in this Olympics, on home ground, is fantastic. What happens after that, we will have to wait and see. But it will be a great opportunity for us to showcase the sport and raise the profile.
“I just want to make sure the players understand that and embrace it. We want everyone to be aware women’s football does exist and is part of a great event.
“Hopefully that will help in what we are trying to do in the future.”
Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine