Britain, U.S. and Brazil reach quarter-finals
LONDON, England ● Hosts Britain, reigning champions the United States and gold medal contenders Brazil all qualified for the quarter-finals of the women’s soccer tournament after maintaining their perfect starts at the London Olympics on Saturday.
Britain, competing for the first time, were too strong for African champions Cameroon and won 3-0 in front of 31,000 fans at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, to follow up their historic first win against New Zealand on Wednesday.
The United States, bidding for a third successive gold, also won 3-0 against Colombia in Glasgow while Brazil, bidding for a first Olympic soccer gold, beat New Zealand 1-0 at Cardiff with another goal from Cristiane, whose overall tally of 12 is an Olympic all-time scoring record.
World champions Japan, however, were held to a 0-0 draw by Sweden in Coventry and are not yet definitely through.
Brazil beooked a 1-0 win over New Zealand later on the day and qualified for the quarter finals as well.
Britain proved too strong for Cameroon and always looked like winning after Casey Stoney and Jill Scott put them 2-0 ahead after 23 minutes. Steph Houghton, who scored England’s first ever Olympic goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over New Zealand wrapped up the points with the third in the 82nd minute.
British coach Hope Powell said afterwards: “We are happy to win the game. They were very physical and quick but we were disciplined and we executed all three goals well.”
The U.S followed up their opening win against France with a solid performance against Colombia with goals from Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, with her 140th international goal, and Carli Lloyd, with the last two goals coming in the last 16 minutes.
Rapinoe said afterwards she was delighted the U.S. had clinched their place in the last eight before meeting North Korea in their final game.
“Now we have officially qualified it feels really good.”
Cristiane scored an 86th-mintute goal Saturday to give Brazil a win over New Zealand.
Cristiane sent a high shot that just barely made it into the net as the New Zealand defense scrambled to stop it.
The win leaves Brazil with six points from two matches in Group E. New Zealand has zero points after its second consecutive 1-0 loss.
Brazil is trying to win its first major trophy in women’s soccer.
The women’s competition, unlike the men’s, is open to players of all ages with the top two from each of the three groups and the best two third place teams going into the knockout stages.
France 5, North Korea 0
France scored four goals in the last 20 minutes and beat North Korea in the group stage.
Defender Laura Georges gave France the lead with a powerful header just before halftime, and her teammates did the rest near the end.
Substitute Elodie Thomis added the second in the 70th minute, then set up Marie-Laure Delie for the third a minute later. Wendie Renard netted a header from a corner in the 81st, and Camille Catala completed the rout with another header in the 87th after Thomis sent in a cross from the right.
The win puts France in second place in Group G ahead of North Korea on goal difference with three points.
Canada 3, South Africa 0
Christine Sinclair scored two second-half goals Saturday to help Canada beat South Africa.
Sinclair scored in the 58th and 86th minutes at the City of Coventry Stadium after Melissa Tancredi had given Canada the lead in the seventh minute.
Canada is third in Group F with three points, one point behind both Japan and Sweden. The two best third-place teams advance to the quarterfinals along with the top two teams in each group.
South Africa has zero points after losing its first two games.
Sweden 0, Japan 0
Sweden held Women’s World Cup champion Japan to a draw.
Japan created many chances – most in the second half – but was unable to take advantage, with Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl making several saves.
Caroline Seger had the best chance for Sweden in the first half when her powerful shot was blocked by Homare Sawa.
The result leaves Sweden at the top of Group F on goal difference, with Japan in second place.