Japan wake up, USA storm through and Team GB bow out…
On with the roundup, and it’s time to bite the bullet, face our fears, take it like a (wo)man, ‘fess up – Team GB’s exit on Friday almost made The Sportist cry. Coming at the same time as Becky Adlington’s intensely dignified bronze medal performance (and, as an aside, how anybody dares to call such a feat a failure is beyond us), it really was almost too much to take. Sadly though, like their ice hockey playing brethren, Canada were just too much for Hope Powell’s Medal Hopes. Quicker to the ball, more organised in defence, more direct in attack, Canada were just the better team. We were wracking its brain as we couldn’t quite think who Team GB reminded us of until finally it sprang to mind: England’s men’s team. Quarter finals, guts galore, just a shade overawed when it came to the punch.
Now though it is time to move on and The Sportist moves to its great new love – the French! While, to our great chagrin, the earlier assumption of 7,000 or more goals by the French in the tournament may not come to pass we are pleased to report that Samir Nasri-Langer has not yet made an appearance on the French team, to everybody’s great relief. Things didn’t look great for France after 18 minutes against Sweden when the world’s blondest blonde, Nilla Fischer, put Sweden into a deserved lead. This French side, though, has more steel than a musketeer’s rapier and first half responses from Laura Georges and Wendie Renard was enough to see the French through.
In the battle of the epic disappointments, Japan finally arrived at the tournament to defeat Brazil 2-0 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Where Japan have taken four games to finally wake up, Brazil appeared to slumber their way through the Games following their 5-0 win in the opening game – frankly, though, The Sportist is rather pleased with the whole situation. Perhaps we shouldn’t admit it, but with goal celebrations like this being one of our least favourite things in the women’s game we’ll not miss the Brazilians one bit.
From Cardiff to Newcastle where the USA continued its seemingly unstoppable progress to Olympic gold with a 2-0 victory over New Zealand. Frankly, this was a 2-0 which might have been eight under other circumstances; US ‘keeper Hope Solo may as well have brought a picnic for all the New Zealanders threatened over the 90 minutes. A first appearance in the knockout stages for Football Ferns can be considered a job well done though, and the US was always going to be a step too far.
So now, to the semi-finals, with two North-American representatives, one Asian and just one remaining European team to play. Allez les Bleus. Allez!
Semi Final Draw
Canada – USA
France – Japan