Team GB take comfort from lasting legacy
© Getty Images

Great Britain tried to focus on the positive legacy their campaign could leave following their elimination from the Women's Olympic Football Tournament on Friday.

Goals from Jonelle Filigno and Christine Sinclair condemned the hosts to a 2-0 defeat by Canada in Coventry and prematurely ended a journey which was growing in importance with every victory.

Wins in Group E over New Zealand and Cameroon had assured Team GB of a place in the last eight, before a record crowd of 70,584 flocked to Wembley to watch Hope Powell's side beat Brazil 1-0.

Each victory earned more attention for women's football across the country, though the likes of Kelly Smith and Casey Stoney warned that the run had to continue for as long as possible to reap the greatest rewards.

Powell praised her players in the aftermath of the loss to Canada, however, insisting that a lasting legacy has been left. "Obviously we're distraught. But they should be very, very proud of what they've achieved," said the Team GB coach.

"They've raised awareness throughout the country and they have to hold their heads up high. They're history makers and they shouldn't forget it. They're now Olympians and that can never be taken away from them."

People are now recognising that women's football is great football, beautiful football, and that to me is a legacy and we're part of that legacy.
Eniola Aluko, Team GB midfielder.

Eniola Aluko was in agreement with Powell, despite the bitter sting of falling at the quarter-final hurdle. "I'm a bit numb to be honest. I mean, I don't know what to say. It's extremely disappointing," said the 25-year-old.

"Bearing in mind we've come off the back of three very great performances. We didn't make it count when it mattered. And it's really devastating.

"In terms of the Olympics as a whole, people are now recognising that women's football is great football, beautiful football, and that to me is a legacy and we're part of that legacy. I'm proud that 70,000 people turned up to a game, when three or four years ago, people might have laughed at that prospect.

"The crowds have been fantastic and have raised the profile of the women's game in Britain. But we also recognised that staying in the competition for as long as possible would increase the attention women's football would receive.

"Unfortunately we're out, but we have to take the positives out of it. We hope all those people that supported Team GB will continue to watch women's football in the future."

The forward attempted not to dwell on defeat for too long, urging her team-mates to learn from their experience and improve in the future.

"It's important for us now to re-analyse our goals. We have the European Championships next year, another tournament we are looking forward to. It's difficult to say now as we wanted to reach the final here at the Olympics. But we’ll bounce back," the Birmingham City Ladies star concluded.