Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Kim Little and Caroline Weir help Team GB to victory over Japan

Scotland’s Kim Little captained Great Britain’s football team to victory over hosts Japan in Sapporo, with the win enough to guarantee progress to the knockout stages of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic women’s football tournament.
Ellen White is congratulated by her Team GB team-mates after scoring the winner against JapanEllen White is congratulated by her Team GB team-mates after scoring the winner against Japan
Ellen White is congratulated by her Team GB team-mates after scoring the winner against Japan

Compatriot Caroline Weir was a second-half substitute as Ellen White's goal was enough for Hege Riise’s team.

Team GB dominated possession but managed just two shots on target to Japan’s one with White heading in a Lucy Bronze cross for the winner on 74 minutes and her third of the Games.

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Riise’s side now top Group E with one match remaining while the hosts lie third with one point going into their final match against Chile, who lost 2-0 to Great Britain in their opening match.

In the other match in the group, Manchester City’s Janine Beckie scored a brace to hand Canada a 2-1 victory over the South Americans. Team GB play Canada on Tuesday.

Riise made four changes to the side that had defeated Chile with Sophie Ingle coming into the midfield and Nikita Parris starting over Georgia Stanway. In defence, Millie Bright and Rachel Daly made way for Leah Williamson and Demi Stokes with Little taking over captaincy duties from Steph Houghton

Lauren Hemp, playing on the left of an attacking midfield trio supporting White, was causing Japan the most problems and her two headers in the first half were GB’s only real opportunities in front of goal.

But as with the game against Chile, it was Manchester City striker White who made the difference, taking advantage of an error by Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita to nod home for the only goal of the game.

Head coach Riise said after the game: "Two wins puts us in a good position; we’re able to rest players and recover well. We are very happy.

"Attacking-wise we lacked a little more but we knew that could happen. I feel like the connection has got better and better each game and that's what we need to get used to.

"In the second half we changed the formation a little and came out and controlled the game much better."

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