Germans outlast brave Sweden
© AFP

Germany scored twice in extra time to finally extinguish Sweden's challenge and book a semi-final with Brazil in the Women's Olympic Football Tournament. After a goalless 90 minutes, Kerstin Garefrekes and Simone Laudehr found the target to settle a game that could, in truth, have gone either way.

The first half began as a chess match, with both sides assuming a cautious stance given the high stakes. As the interval approached, however, the chances began to flow.

Germany's best opportunity fell to whom their fans would have wished, but after effortlessly rounding goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, Birgit Prinz uncharacteristically missed the target with the goal at her mercy. Sweden also spurned a clear-cut chance from close range, Jessica Landstrom heading wide two minutes before half-time.

Sweden No11 Victoria Svensson then fluffed her lines when well-placed four minutes after the restart, and this seemed to spark Germany into action. Thereafter, Silvia Neid's side progressively assumed control of the game, unsettling their opponents with their elusive movement and employing a sharp passing game to unlock the Swedish defence. Twice, Prinz found herself in shooting positions but on both occasions she failed to trouble Lindahl, who did nonetheless have to be alert to keep out a Garefrekes effort on 75 minutes.

The outstretched arm of Nadine Angerer then denied Sweden a late opener, before Melanie Behringer's fierce drive rebounded off a post to the frustration of the German supporters.

Both sides threatened the deadlock in extra time, and it was eventually broken by the towering Garefrekes, who rose highest to head home a Renate Lingor corner. Laudehr then put the contest beyond Sweden's reach from close range after a delightful one-two with Prinz.

Germany will now meet Brazil, whom they defeated 2-0 in the final of last year's FIFA Women's World Cup, in the last four on Monday.