SPORTS

Brazil, Britain lose in women's Olympic football; US and Japan closer to final rematch

08/03/2012 06:26 EDT | Updated 10/03/2012 05:12 EDT
COVENTRY, England - Brazil failed in yet another attempt to win a major women's football title, and Britain came up short in perhaps the only chance it will ever get.

The United States and Japan, though, are moving ever closer to another final showdown.

World champion Japan ousted Brazil 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the London Olympics on Friday despite getting largely outplayed, while the U.S. ousted New Zealand by the same score.

The Americans will next play Canada, which stunned host Britain 2-0 in Coventry to end the team's hopes of getting a medal in its first — and maybe only — competition as a unified team.

Japan will play France, which ousted Sweden 2-1.

Japan beat the U.S. in the final of last year's World Cup, but still entered the game against Brazil as underdogs. The South Americans controlled play for most of the game, but Japan capitalized on the few counterattacks it created to hand Brazil its earliest elimination ever from the Olympics.

Strikers Yuki Ogimi and Shinobu Ohno scored a goal in each half for Japan, leaving the Brazilians fuming at their inability to convert their chances.

"To see our team have so many opportunities and not score, and see the other team playing only at the back and scoring two goals is a tragedy," Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos said. "The football that Japan presented didn't deserve to win. We will have to work a lot during the next four years before 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. We want to get the title there."

The Americans were far more convincing in beating New Zealand, with Abby Wambach again leading the way.

Wambach has scored in every match of the tournament, and the 32-year-old striker slid onto a pass in the 27th minute, then celebrated with a cartwheel.

Sydney Leroux added an insurance goal in the 87th minute for the two-time defending Olympic champion Americans.

The British team had become increasingly popular at home, especially after beating Brazil in its final group match at Wembley, and had not conceded a goal in its first three games.

But Canada scored twice in the first half as the British were undone by defensive mistakes at the City of Coventry Stadium.

Jonelle Filigno scored Canada's opener after 16 minutes when she curled a half volley into the top corner after being left unmarked at a corner. Captain Christine Sinclair doubled the Canadian lead in the 27th with a well struck free kick.

France, which features one of the most potent attacks of the tournament, needed two defenders to provide the goals against Sweden.

Sweden went ahead through captain Nilla Fischer in the 18th minute after the ball bounced off her shoulder following a corner kick, but Laura Georges equalized with a header in the 29th and Wendie Renard netted the winner with a close-range shot in the 39th.

"We showed today how dangerous our defenders can be on set pieces, this team is not only about our attackers," Georges said. "We were able to score even against big and strong defenders like the Swedes have."

Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi also was crucial for the win, making a point-blank save in the 72nd to keep the French ahead. She dived to her right and just barely tipped Fischer's close-range shot wide.

Sweden also made it to the semifinals of last year's World Cup, eventually beating France 2-1 in the third-place match.

"It feels empty," Sweden defender Annica Svensson said after Friday's match. "We played a good game and I don't think that France played a better game than us. That feels kind of disappointing."

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