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US, Canada, France & Japan reach quarter-finals

Updated: Friday, 03 Aug 2012 23:58 | Comments

Abby Wambach (r) celebrates with US team-mate Megan Rapinoe after scoring against New Zealand
Abby Wambach (r) celebrates with US team-mate Megan Rapinoe after scoring against New Zealand

The United States will meet neighbours Canada in the semi-finals of the women's soccer tournament while France meet world champions Japan.

Hosts Britain bowed out after losing 2-0 to Canada in Coventry where Jonelle Filigno and skipper Christine Sinclair put Canada in control with goals in the first 25 minutes.

The US were too strong for New Zealand, beating them 2-0 at St James' Park; Japan had the measure of Brazil beating them 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium, while France came from behind to beat Sweden 2-1 at Hampden Park.

The US and Japan will start Monday's semis as favourites to get through to Thursday's final at Wembley in what would be a repeat of last year's World Cup final in Frankfurt, which Japan won on penalties.

The Americans will play neighbours Canada at Old Trafford on Monday, while Japan and France will meet each other at Wembley.

Goals in each half from Abby Wambach, her 142nd international goal, and Canadian-born substitute Sydney Leroux, gave the US victory.

Wambach opened the scoring in the 27th minute when she slid in at the back post to score her fourth goal in as many games at the tournament.

They made sure of victory three minutes from time when Leroux, who played for both Canada and the US in youth internationals, fired home.

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said she was not worried her team wasted so many scoring chances.

"As long as we create chances, when you look back and see the way we played for 90 minutes, then you get confidence despite not putting the chances away."

Japan weathered a bright start by Brazil and gradually took control of the game after Yuki Ogimi scored in the 26th minute. Shinobu Ohno struck an excellent second goal high into the roof of the net with 18 minutes to play.

Coach Norio Sasaki was delighted with the performance.

"I think the players did a good job. It was our first time playing against Brazil in a major tournament and the players could have been fearful of them. But we knew their stamina would decline in the second half, so I told the players to get the ball forward quickly and it worked."

Great Britain, who attracted a record British crowd for a women’s match of 70,000 when they played Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday, had no answer to a superior Canada side.

"We were just not good enough tonight," said their coach Hope Powell.

"All credit to Canada, they came at us and played very well and we could not respond. But I am so proud of my team. We have become history makers and made the country proud."

France, who like Britain are playing in the Olympics for the first time, avenged last year's defeat by Sweden in the third place play-off at the World Cup with two goals from set-pieces from Laura Georges and Wendie Renard at Hampden.

They cancelled out Nilla Fischer's 18th minute header for the Swedes, strong favourites for a medal before the tournament started.

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Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
Full Table

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