London 2012 Olympics: GB women’s football team stun Brazilians
Steph Houghton secured arguably the finest result in the history of British women’s football as Hope Powell’s side stormed into the Olympic quarter-finals by beating Brazil 1-0 at Wembley.
There have been more significant achievements, but even Football Association officials privately conceded that against such formidable opposition, in front of a British record 70,584 crowd, there has been no better evening.
Houghton’s third goal of the tournament meant Kelly Smith could afford to miss a second-half penalty and GB still managed to avoid a last eight meeting with World Cup winners Japan. Instead they must play Canada, no slouches themselves as the seventh-ranked nation in the world, in Coventry on Friday.
Team GB scored after two minutes. Karen Carney chased a loose ball, turned and threaded a pass to Houghton, who read it brilliantly, nipped past Andreia and from a tight angle, rolled in. It was her third goal of the competition and the noise that greeted it was amazing.
When Aluko was tripped by Francielle in the second half, Smith had the responsibility of converting from the spot. But her poor spot-kick was turned away by Andreia.
Meanwhile, Japan coach Norio Sasaki instructed his side not to push for a winner in their goalless draw against South Africa at the Millennium Stadium. The result gave South Africa their first Olympic point, while Japan finished second in Group F, meaning they remain in Cardiff for their quarter-final on Friday.
Topping the group would have seen Japan play their next match in Glasgow.
Sasaki said: “We wanted to stay here in Cardiff for the next match. It was important not to move to Glasgow but to stay here and prepare for the next match.
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