The Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will take place on Friday, Aug. 5, marking the first Olympic Games held in a South American city. Rio is currently making a number of last-minute preparations to deal with technical difficulties in the Olympic Village, the Zika virus, a complicated political situation, and increasing crime rates, but many are still confident that the Games will be a success. And you don't have to wait until the Opening Ceremony to start enjoying them, either, because there are a couple of sports that start before the Olympics officially begin.
Soccer matches start two days before the Opening Ceremony, in order for competitors to have enough time to rest in between all of the games. On Wednesday, Aug. 3, women's soccer teams from a dozen countries will start competing against one another. The match-ups will be as follows, in chronological order: Sweden vs. South Africa, Canada vs. Australia, Brazil vs. China, Zimbabwe vs. Germany, United States vs. New Zealand, and France vs. Colombia. This is the day that Brazil launches its Olympic campaign against China, and Team U.S.A. begins its fight for its fourth consecutive Olympic gold against New Zealand in the group stage, according to NBC.
Then on Thursday, with just one day left to go before the Opening Ceremony, the men's soccer teams will have their chance to compete for the first time during this year's Games. Teams from 16 different countries will be competing in this group stage, with the match-ups — again, in chronological order — as follows: Iraq vs. Denmark, Honduras vs. Algeria, Brazil vs. South Africa, Mexico vs. Germany, Portugal vs. Argentina, Sweden vs. Colombia, Fiji vs. South Korea, and Nigeria vs. Japan. Like Wednesday, Thursday will be important for Brazil's team, which is aiming to get its first Olympic soccer gold medal against South Africa.
The Opening Ceremony is on Friday, but soccer matches aren't the only competitions that take place before it starts. On Friday morning, there will be archery competitions, starting with men's team and men's individual ranking rounds at 5 a.m. and proceeding to women's individual and women's team ranking rounds at 9 a.m.
At 4 p.m. on Friday, the ceremony will begin at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, marking the official start of this year's Olympic Games. Rio may be facing a series of hurdles as it approaches this momentous day, but with soccer and archery teams from around the world getting ready to kick things off, the 2016 Summer Olympics are almost upon us.