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Tokyo 2020: UK team head coach Hege Riise says team needs to deal with Olympic emotions |  Football news


Hege Riise urged the GB team to let go of their emotions if they are to win Olympic gold.

Riise’s side will kick off their campaign against Chile in Group E in Sapporo on Wednesday (kick off 8:30 a.m. BST) – two days before the opening ceremony in Tokyo.

Sky Sports News understands that Steph Houghton will captain the GB team in their opener, wearing the armband in front of co-captains Kim Little and Sophie Ingle.

Riise won gold with Norway at the 2000 Sydney Games after losing the opener 2-0 to the United States, before beating them 3-2 in the final.

It gives the former midfielder an important perspective, which she says will be key in Japan.

“It will be an emotional roller coaster and how we handle it individually and as a team will be crucial,” said the GB coach.

“You have to have confidence that you are well prepared, but also know that not every game will be a great game, you could win on a day that is not great.

Picture:
Steph Houghton set to become GB captain in their Group E debut against Chile on Wednesday

“You have to overcome the feeling of not performing and looking your best but still winning.

“The emotions of being in the Olympics are pretty big and the games come so fast that you don’t have time to be too overwhelmed or happy. You just need to go.

“You can prepare for something and it doesn’t happen, so you have to adapt to whatever happens. We have to be prepared for it.”

The GB team qualified for their second Olympics only after England finished fourth at the 2019 World Cup. A home country had to finish among the top three European teams in the tournament to reach Tokyo.

The bulk of the squad is made up of England players, with Welshwoman Sophie Ingle and Scottish duo Caroline Weir and Kim Little also selected.

Tokyo 2020: UK team head coach Hege Riise says team needs to deal with Olympic emotions |  Football news
Picture:
Wales co-captain Sophie Ingle is one of three non-England players in the GB squad

They only played one game, a 3-0 win over New Zealand at Kawasaki last week, but Riise played down their lack of time together.

“We said it was a challenge, in a few months we will have to know each other as a team to fight for a gold medal,” said the interim England boss.

“It’s a big task for us, but I feel like we are going to fight this fight and do anything, we will focus on what we can do, how we will prepare, how good we are. well prepared.

“Of course we don’t have the next 10 games, but we have to focus on what we can actually do and I think we are in the same positive thinking.”

They will face Chile in Sapporo, northern Japan, before playing the hosts on Saturday, then travel to Kashima to face Canada on July 27.

“We are happy to start in Sapporo so it was a good situation for us,” added Riise.

“We prepared as much for Chile as for Japan and Canada. They are tough to beat, they drew against Germany and it’s not an easy game.

“We want to get off to a good start and then we’ll see, it’s hard to plan anything other than this game. We want to win.”





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