Women’s soccer takes its traditional place kicking off the Olympics on Wednesday, two days before the Opening Ceremony, in various cities in Brazil.
Competition at the Rio Games will start at 12 p.m. ET, with South Africa playing Sweden in Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium, which will host track and field in the second week of the Games.
Later, host Brazil begins its quest to win the nation’s first Olympic soccer gold medal. It plays China in the other Group E match at 3 p.m. ET, also at Olympic Stadium.
The U.S. women, eyeing a fourth straight Olympic title, open against New Zealand at 6 p.m. ET in Belo Horizonte. The U.S. beat New Zealand 2-0 in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals.
All 12 Olympic women’s soccer teams play Wednesday in the first of three group matchdays. The top two teams in each four-team group advance to the quarterfinals Aug. 12, plus the two highest-ranked third-place teams.
Noticeably absent from the Rio field is Japan, which played the U.S. in the last two World Cup finals and the 2012 Olympic final. The Japanese shockingly failed to qualify for Rio.
Here are all of Wednesday’s matches with NBCOlympics.com live streaming links (all times Eastern):
Group E: Sweden-South Africa (12 p.m., NBCSN) — LIVE STREAM
Group F: Canada-Australia (2 p.m., NBCSN) — LIVE STREAM
Group E: Brazil-China (3 p.m., USA) — LIVE STREAM
Group F: Zimbabwe-Germany (5 p.m., USA) — LIVE STREAM
Group G: U.S.-New Zealand (6 p.m., NBCSN) — LIVE STREAM
Group G: France-Colombia (9 p.m., NBCSN) — LIVE STREAM
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.