LONDON (AFP) –
Great Britain’s women saw their maiden Olympic football tournament end with a 2-0 quarter-final defeat by Canada in Coventry on Friday.
Just days after beating Brazil in front of a raucous crowd of more than 70,000 — a British record for a women’s match — at Wembley Stadium, they were unable to reach the same heights against a Canada side coached by Englishman John Herdman.
Jonelle Filigno gave Canada an early lead before Christine Sinclair doubled their advantage before half-time with a curling free-kick.
Canada’s win set up a semi-final clash with neighbours and reigning Olympic champions the United States at Manchester United‘s Old Trafford on Monday.
“I think we are in shock right now,” said Sinclair. “To win the way we did, I’m just speechless.”
Looking ahead to the semi-final, Sinclair added: “USA are obviously favourites for the tournament and are on fire right now. But we know them very well and we deserve to be there.”
Britain’s Jill Scott while disappointed with the defeat said the experience of competing at an Olympics would remain with her for ever.
“I have loved every moment. I will look back in years to come at what has been a very special time in my life.”
Meanwhile world champions Japan ended Brazil’s quest for a first Olympic women’s football title with a 2-0 win in Cardiff.
Yuki Ogimi capitalised on poor Brazil defending to slot home in the 27th minute before Shinobu Ohno doubled their lead 17 minutes from time.
Japan will now play France at Wembley on Monday.
“I’m so proud of the girls,” said Japan captain Aya Miyama. “In the first half we were struggling, but we later improved. Now we have a great chance of a medal.”
Meanwhile Brazil captain Marta, a multiple world player of the year, tried to draw the sting from this defeat by saying: “We are leaving with our heads held high. We tried our best, it was a really tough game.”
Earlier, veteran USA striker Abby Wambach insisted her side were “bound for glory” after a 2-0 win over New Zealand kept the defending champions on course for a third straight Olympic football title.
Wambach fired the United States into an early lead at St James’ Park, the home of English Premier League club Newcastle, as the holders booked their place in the last four.
But it was not until three minutes from time, when Sydney Leroux added a second goal, that victory was secured.
“This team is bound for glory,” said Wambach. “It might not look pretty in every second of the game, but we get it done.”
France marked their first appearance at an Olympic women’s football tournament by reaching the last four following a 2-1 win over Sweden at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.
Sweden took the lead in the 18th minute through Nilla Fischer but France equalised 11 minutes later through Laura Georges’s header from a corner.
France then went ahead shortly before half-time courtesy of Wendie Renard’s powerful shot.
But that they won in normal time was down to goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, who made a superb one-handed save to stop a Fischer volley that seemed destined for the top corner.