Anita in buoyant mood
Team GB Women v New Zealand
Olympic Games, London 2012
4pm, Wednesday 25 July
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Team GB Women’s midfielder Anita Asante is relishing Wednesday’s Olympic opener against New Zealand.
Asante is a part of an historical 18-strong GB squad - no female football team has ever represented Great Britain at an Olympic Games - and as if that honour wasn’t big enough, not only is Wednesday’s encounter her side’s first group match of the Games, it is also the very first event of London 2012.
"I'm massively excited,” said Asante, who featured in Friday's 0-0 draw with Sweden. “None of us ever expected to be playing in an Olympics for Team GB, so it will be a great occasion.
“The first game is very important and hopefully we will get the result we want.”
With 55 England caps to her name, Asante is an experienced international who has enjoyed a club career in three different countries and she is currently plying her trade in Sweden with Gotenburg. A veteran of three major tournaments, she was a part of the England squad that defeated New Zealand 2-1 at last year’s World Cup so she is well placed to assess the Football Ferns’ qualities ahead of the Group E clash.
"They are a really tough team and they have lots of good players,” she said. “We have played them a lot of times in the past and we know they have a strong work ethic, a never-say-die attitude and are a team that like to pressurise high up the pitch. They will make it tough for us.”
And while every team and every athlete at London 2012 is no doubt training and preparing as best they can to win a medal, Asante says Team GB are sticking to a common football mantra.
"Of course we'll take every game as it comes. Our first aim is to get out of the group, then we'll take it step by step and see how far we can go."