THE DAY REPLAYED - For four teams, the dream of winning a medal at the 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament came to an abrupt end. After reaching four consecutive semi-finals, Brazil are on their way home following defeat to world champions Japan in a thrilling quarter-final.
Hosts Great Britain were also left empty-handed after losing to Canada, leaving the fans in a packed City of Coventry stadium disappointed. Sweden took the lead in a repeat of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ third-place play-off against France, but nonetheless finished on the losing side.
By contrast, USA still have their sights firmly set on repeating their triumph in Beijing 2008. The defending champions struggled over long periods against New Zealand, but were worthy winners at the end to set up a semi-final against their North American neighbours.
Sweden 1-2 France
USA 2-0 New Zealand
Brazil 0-2 Japan
Great Britain 0-2 Canada
Goal of the day
Brazil - Japan, Shinobu Ohno (73’)
Brazil were 1-0 down against Japan and going all out for an equaliser. With the South Americans piling on the pressure, Shinobu Ohno scored a wonderful goal to decide the tie in the world champions’ favour. Yuki Ogimi played a delightful pass to Japan’s No11, whose dummy took her past Erika before curling an unstoppable shot under goalkeeper Andreia’s crossbar.
France in safe hands
When two teams are cancelling each other out, an individual is often the difference between winning and losing. Sarah Bouhaddi was a case in point in the match between Sweden and France. The French goalkeeper thwarted numerous Swedish chances and crowned her performance in the 72nd minute with a stunning reflex save from Nilla Fischer’s close-range first-time effort. The Swedish captain was left in disbelief, while the fans in Glasgow’s Hampden Park applauded rapturously. “Sarah made a great save at just the right moment that allowed us to go through,” France coach Bruno Bini said. “A goalkeeper can lose you a match but there are a very few that can win you a match.”
USA’s perfect 10
Thanks to their victory over New Zealand, USA still have every chance of winning a medal, and when Abby Wambach opened the scoring, half of the team celebrated by performing cartwheels an Olympic gymnast could hardly have executed better. “The celebration was dedicated to the USA gymnastics team. We all watch the gymnastics, so it was a little shout out to the whole gymnastics team," Alex Morgan said after the match.
Hard to take
At 39, New Zealand goalkeeper Jenny Bindon is not only the oldest player at this Olympic football tournament but also one of the bravest. In a duel with the onrushing Alex Morgan, the veteran keeper was hit on the head by the American’s knee. She required several minutes of treatment but eventually was able to continue until the final whistle. A remarkable achievement, as New Zealand coach Tony Readings highlighted at the end: "She said she can't remember much of the game."
Stat of the day
4 - Abby Wambach has scored in all four of USA’s matches so far at London 2012. The last player to do so at a Women’s Olympic Football Tournament was the Norwegian Linda Medalen in 1996.
“We were among the six favourites for the medals, but now we are in the last four going for the medals. We just hope it won't be like the last time when we returned with the chocolate medals [after finishing fourth in last year's World Cup]," Bruno Bini, France coach.
Monday 6 August 2012 (all times given are local)
France - Japan, London, 17.00
Canada - USA, Manchester, 19.45