THE DAY REPLAYED – After a final round of group games brimming with suspense and action, the quarter-final line-up of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 is now set: Canada-France, USA-Sweden, China PR-Germany and Brazil-Australia.
Both Brazil and USA, despite recording disappointing draws against South Africa (0-0) and Colombia (2-2) respectively, finished top of their groups. Canada, meanwhile, rested Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie, but still overcame Germany in impressive fashion to top their section.
In spite of their surprise defeat, the Germans hung on to second place in Group F, ahead of Australia, who saw off Zimbabwe 6 -1. That resounding victory was enough for the Matildas to clinch one of the quarter-final spots available to the two best third-placed sides, a route also taken by Sweden, who played out a scoreless stalemate with second-placed China PR in Group E.
Elsewhere, New Zealand lost 3-0 to France, a result that ends their Olympic adventure. Colombia and South Africa also bowed out, but will be happy to have finished on a positive note.
Results Group E South Africa 0-0 Brazil China PR 0-0 Sweden
Group F Australia 6-1 Zimbabwe Germany 1-2 Canada
Group G Colombia 2-2 USA New Zealand 0-3 France
Goal of the day*Germany 1-1 Canada, Melissa Tancredi (26') The Canadians were trailing 1-0 when Desiree Scott dispossessed Lena Gossling on the edge of the German box and immediately fed her captain, Melissa Tancredi. The wily forward used all of her experience to produce a feint that momentarily fooled Josephine Henning, prior to hitting a fine, low shot past Almuth Schult to draw her country level. *
Memorable moments Shrewd substitution In order to add a bit of spark to his uninspired strikeforce, coach Philippe Bergeroo took the somewhat radical decision to take off forward Marie-Laure Delie in favour of Eugenie Le Sommer in just the 35th minute of France’s match with New Zealand. Three minutes later, however, the attack-minded Lyon star vindicated her coach's decision, swiftly following up on an Elise Bussaglia chip that had come back off the post to give Les Bleues the lead and extricate them from a potentially sticky situation.**
Free-kick frenzy At the end of their opening game at Rio 2016, Colombia had left the pitch with their heads down, having suffered a comprehensive 4-0 defeat at the hands of France, during which Camille Abily and Amel Majri had both scored from direct free-kicks. Six days later, Las Cafeteras* can now hold their heads high as they depart the tournament, after snatching a late point in their match with reigning world champions USA, courtesy of two direct free-kicks by Catalina Usme.
Sweet sixteen The first Australian international – men and women combined – to have been born in the 21st century, Ellie Carpenter earned herself a new record against Zimbabwe on Tuesday. At 16 years, three months and 12 days, she became the youngest player ever to take part in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. Fittingly, the scoreboard at the end of the match displayed the numbers “1” and “6”.
Brazil’s bogey team Brazilian fans could be forgiven for wanting to see the back of South Africa at Rio 2016. After their men’s team secured an unlikely draw versus Neymar and Co in their opening match, much to the dismay of the spectators present in Brasilia, South Africa’s women put in a similarly resilient performance in the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, grinding out a point against the odds in front of a raucous home crowd.
The stat12– Canada had lost their last 12 matches to Germany prior to Tuesday’s clash in Brasilia. And it was without their famous No12, Christine Sinclair, that the Canucks brought that unenviable run to an end.
Australia midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight takes to Twitter after her team's win.
Next matchdayFriday 12 August (all times local)* *
Quarter-finals USA-Sweden, Brasilia 13:00 China PR-Germany, Salvador, 16:00 Canada-France, Sao Paolo, 19:00 Brazil-Australia, Belo Horizonte, 22:00