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August 1, 2012
70K-plus at Wembley see Great Britain win

And then there were eight, as in eight quarterfinal teams in the Olympic women’s soccer tournament.

The competition on Tuesday night was cut from 12 to eight teams, with four quarterfinal confrontations:

* Great Britain vs. Canada, Coventry

* U.S. vs. New Zealand, Newcastle

* Japan vs. Brazil, Cardiff

* France vs. Sweden, Glasgow


Great Britain defender Stephanie Houghton converted a low cross from Karen Carney past goalkeeper Brazil Andreia for the lone goal of the Group E match in the second minute before 70,584 spectators, a record for a women’s match in Great Britain in Wembley Stadium in London. It was Houghton’s third goal in as many matches.

“I am lost for words to be honest, Houghton said. “I never thought I’d get to play in front of such a big crowd, against Brazil and then score as well. It’s an unbelievable feeling and I am so proud. These sorts of things come round once in a lifetime.”

After the match, Team GB took a lap of honor around the stadium.


Midfielder Melissa Tancredi tallied her second goal of the match in the 84th minute to help rally Canada from a two-goal deficit to tie Sweden 2-2 in Newcastle.

“It showed the spirit in this team,” Tancredi said. “This team just never gives up. It’s our Olympic spirit. We gave them a 2-0 lead, but we knew we could do it and had the time.

“It’s another step on the road for us. It’s what we wanted and we’re on our way, but this is just one stop on the journey.”

Tancredi leads all women’s goal-scoers with four goals.

Christine Sinclair set up the equalizer, chipping the ball to Tancredi, who headed it home.

The Swedes grabbed a 2-0 lead by the 16th minute as Marie Hammarstorm struck in the 14th minute before she created a goal by Sofia Jakobsson, who beat goalkeeper Erin McLeod two minutes later. Tancredi started Canada’s comeback, slicing the lead in half in the 43rd minute.


Thomis gave the French (2-1-0, six) all the scoring it needed in the fifth minute to earn a 1=- win over Colombia and second-place in Group G in Newcastle. She raced past the defense and beat goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda from 15 yards.

The French did not play well in the second half.

“You can say whatever you want, we are still in the quarterfinals,” France coach Bruno Bini said. “We have qualified in this really big competition.”

Colombia (0-3-0) did not score a goal in the tournament.


Needing a win to reach the quarterfinals, New Zealand did just that beating Cameroon 3-1 to earn a spot in the knockout round phase as two of the best third-place teams in the Group E match in Coventry.

This was the first time a New Zealand team reached the quarterfinals.

“I am absolutely stoked,” Sarah Gregorius said. “It is the first time for a Kiwi team and I am so proud of the girls and I am feeling great.”

Captain Rebecca Smith headed in a goal in the 43rd minute before Ysis Sonkeng scored an own goal. Gregorius made it 3-0 in the 65th minute before Cameroon got one back on Gabrielle Onguene’s 78th-minute score.


In a surprising result, the world champions Japan could only muster a scoreless draw with newcomer South Africa, finishing second in Group F in Cardiff. So, instead of playing France in the next round, the Japanese will take on Brazil.

Four Japanese players performed for the first time in the tournament as stars Homare Sawa and Shinobu Ohno remained on the bench.

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