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 with a near-post finish 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.
Meanwhile, world champions Japan ended Brazil’s quest for a first Olympic women’s football title with a 2-0 win in Cardiff.
Brazil, captained by multiple world player of the year, Marta, dominated the early stages but couldn’t find a way through Japan’s well-organised defence.
Yuki Ogimi then made the most of poor Brazil defending to latch on to Mizuho Sakaguchi’s pass and slot home in the 27th minute.
Japan doubled their lead 17 minutes from the end, thanks to an excellent counter-attack.
Ogimi turned provider, her flighted pass landing perfectly in the path of Shinobu Ohno, who cut inside Erika before sending a looping shot over Brazil goalkeeper Andreia.
Japan will now play France at London’s Wembley Stadium 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. Our defence was very good. Now we have a great chance of a medal.”
Meanwhile, Marta 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 when Nilla Fischer deflected in a Marie Hammarstrom corner off her shoulder. 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.