Best XI: Women's players to watch at Tokyo 2020 🤩

Logo: OneFootball


Emily Wilson

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Unlike the men’s tournament, women’s football at the Olympics often sees full-strength squads hit the pitch.

After looking through all the talent, here is our star XI featuring the best players to watch at Tokyo 2020.

Maximum two players per country

GK:  Christiane Endler (Chile)

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Looking at all the teams, it’s hard to argue that Endler isn’t the most in-form goalkeeper at Tokyo 2020. A leader who has helped make history for both club (formerly Paris Saint-Germain) and country, she is surely the best shot-stopper around who will challenge all levels of attack.

RB: Lucy Bronze (Great Britain)

When it comes to right-back, there’s no one better in the position than England’s Bronze. The 29-year-old has plenty of experience on the biggest stage along with a lengthy list of individual awards to back up her talent including The Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2020.

CB: Magda Eriksson (Sweden)

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Chelsea captain Eriksson hones all the talents a team would want in a centre-back. A leader on the pitch who was particularly key to the Blues’ success in recent years, she can read the play, set up counter-attacks and orchestrates a cohesive backline for both club and country.

CB: Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada)

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A Canadian gem, 25-year-old Buchanan’s rise to the top of women’s football has been quick but not without reason. A visionary on the pitch who also has attacking qualities, she’s an automatic name on the team sheet. The Lyon centre-back has four Champions League titles, an Olympic bronze medal and was named Best Young Player at the 2015 World Cup amongst her honours.

LB: Crystal Dunn (USA)

While the top-ranked USA team has a plethora of stars, there’s one position that is always uncontested and that’s Dunn at left-back. With pace for days, the Portland Thorns star offers herself as a winger or wing-back and is a talent who embodies all the top qualities of the modern full-back role.

DM: Saki Kumagai (Japan)

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With a career like Kumagai’s (five Champions League titles, an Olympic silver medal and a World Cup), it’s no coincidence the 30-year-old is dubbed as one of the most successful East Asian footballers. A defensive midfielder who can also play up top or as a centre-back, the 2019 Asian Women’s Footballer of the Year is a bag of tricks with heaps of experience in top-flight football and appears to get better every year.

DM: Sam Mewis (USA)

Mention the United States Women’s National Team and it won’t take long until you hear the name Mewis; a captivating midfielder who continues to make a name for herself as one of the best in the business. Mewis was a key component in the USA’s World Cup-winning squad and became a staple for former club Manchester City as a result. Plus, she’s brewed her own beer with her sister and team-mate, Kristie. Bonus points!

RW: Fran Kirby (Great Britain)

The story behind Kirby’s career is in fact one of the best in women’s football in recent years. And after coming off a very strong 2020/21 season with Chelsea, how could we not name her in the best XI for the Olympics? Lightning-quick with an effortless style of play, Kirby causes problems for any defence, can score herself, or set up a team-mate like she’s doing it in her sleep.

AM: Debinha (Brazil)

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How many names pop up when you think about Brazilian football? Plenty. But alongside the long list of stars and generational talent comes another force to be reckoned with in Debinha. A creative, dynamic forward who can play as a number nine or a 10, you have to be one of the best to be named alongside greats like Formiga, Cristiane and Marta and the 29-year-old fits into the list with ease.

LW: Lieke Martens (Netherlands)

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You can’t look at the Netherlands’ recent rise to stardom without seeing the efforts of Lieke Martens. Previously seen as the prodigy in Dutch football, the 28-year-old has quickly become one of the best wingers in the world. Martens was key to Barcelona’s 2020/21 treble, the Netherlands’ second-place finish at the 2019 World Cup and was named The Best FIFA Women’s Player (2017) and UEFA Women’s Player of the Year (2017). We rest our case.

ST: Sam Kerr (Australia)

Sam Kerr. No need to say anything else.