Competition in the women’s Olympic sevens tournament will intensify on Friday as the pool stage is completed and the medal quarter-finals are played.
Australia, France, New Zealand and the USA all navigated an electrifying opening day unbeaten, as they recorded back-to-back victories at Tokyo Stadium.
Those four teams will now hope to finish their pool stage campaign with the win that would guarantee top spot in their respective groups.
But, with the top two in each pool and the two best third-placed teams qualifying for the medal quarter-finals each of the competing nations has a last-eight spot to play for on day two.
Australia, USA compete for Pool C top spot
Defending champions Australia will continue their pursuit of glory at Tokyo 2020 at 10:30 local time (GMT+9) when they take on Pool C rivals USA, who were the only team they played and failed to beat at Rio 2016.
The two teams were drawn together in Pool A five years ago, and also met in their final match of the pool stage. On that occasion, Australia needed a late Emma Tonegato try to secure a 12-12 draw that sent both teams and Fiji into the medal quarter-finals.
Tonegato is one of five members of Australia’s gold medal winning squad that have been selected for Tokyo 2020, and she was in fine form on day one, scoring a hat-trick against Japan.
Victory for either side would guarantee top spot in Pool C and set up a medal quarter-final against the team that finishes second in Pool A.
The teams have met 13 times since their first Olympic meeting, with Australia winning eight of those matches including the bronze final at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco.
Australia and the USA both recorded wins over China and Japan on day one, however, one of the Asian teams could still qualify for the medal quarter-finals with a victory in their match on day two, which kicks off at 10:00 local time (GMT+9).
Les Bleues target Rio revenge
France could exact Olympic revenge on Canada, and boost their Tokyo 2020 medal hopes, when the two teams meet in their final Pool B match at 09:30 local time on Friday.
Canada beat Les Bleues 15-5 in the medal quarter-finals five years ago and went on to earn their place on the podium, beating Great Britain in the bronze medal match at Deodoro Stadium.
But, the Canadians need to win when the two teams meet again at Tokyo Stadium to be sure of a medal quarter-final place, after they lost 26-12 to Fiji in Thursday’s second session.
Les Bleues have won only one of the 17 World Rugby Sevens Series matches between the sides since Rio, but they did beat Canada in the RWC Sevens 2018 quarter-finals.
Should France win on Friday then their prize would be top spot in Pool B and a medal quarter-final against the best third-place finisher.
Fiji could seal their own progress to the last eight with a victory against Brazil when the teams meet in the opening match of day two of the women's tournament at 09:00 local time.
And, history is on the Fijiana’s side. The two teams have met 10 times at this level but the last of Brazil’s two victories in the fixture came more than six years ago in Sao Paulo.
All to play for in Pool A
New Zealand head into day two on the back of successive victories and will top Pool A if they make it three out of three against the Russian Olympic Committee team (ROC) at 11:30 local time.
The ROC lost their opening match on day one against Great Britain on the final play but gave their hopes of reaching the medal quarter-finals a boost when they beat Kenya.
However, a Russian team has only ever beaten the Black Ferns Sevens once before — a 33-7 win at the Dubai Sevens in 2015 — although there have been two draws in their 27 meetings to date.
New Zealand will be keen to end their pool stage campaign on a winning note, meanwhile, and know that victory would set up a medal quarter-final against the second-best third-placed finisher.
Great Britain lost their final match on day one narrowly to New Zealand and will want to rebound with victory against Kenya when the teams meet at 11:00 local time (GMT+9).
The two teams have not met previously and Kenya have only played two matches against England, Scotland or Wales respectively at this level to date.
The Lionesses lost to England at the France Women’s Sevens 2016, but beat Wales at the Commonwealth Games 2018.
Whoever finishes top of Pool A will feature in the first medal quarter-final, which is scheduled to kick-off at 17:30 local time (GMT+9). The final last-eight match will kick-off at 19:00 local time (GMT+9).
Prior to the quarter-finals, the ninth-place semi-finals will take place at 16:30 and 17:00 local time, meaning that all 12 teams will be guaranteed at least five matches at Tokyo 2020.