Opening Ceremony? Who needs it? Not Olympic soccer teams.
The Olympic Women's Soccer tournament kicks off days before the opening ceremonies with the group stage, with the men getting going a day later.
Although they came up short in the final of the 2011 World Cup, the U.S. women's soccer team is the odds on favorite to take home the gold medal in London, according to Bovada. Led by Hope Solo and Abby Wambach, the Americans are vying for a three-peat gold Olympic victory. Given the World Cup loss and the ensuing failure of their domestic professional league, falling short may be considered heartbreaking for the American women.
For all the talent on the U.S. squad, the best player in the field might be playing for the Brazilian squad. Marta, a five-time World Player of the Year, is just 26 and will be looking to finally lead Brazil to the gold in London. Brazil went home with the silver in the last two Olympic Games and will be looking for revenge over the U.S. after being defeated in dramatic fashion in last year's World Cup.
The winner of the 2011 World Cup, Japan, is the third favorite to come out on top in the 2012 Games. After beating the U.S. in penalties, earning FIFA Women's Coach of the Year (Norio Sasaki) and World Player of the Year (Homare Sawa) awards, the Japanese will try to capitalize on their momentum in London.
All odds via Bovada.com