Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Britain 1-0 Brazil: Houghton makes history in front of record crowd

Great Britain players celebrate Steph Houghton's strike

Steph Houghton secured arguably the finest result in the history British women's football as Hope Powell's side stormed into the Olympic quarter-finals by beating Brazil at Wembley in front of a British record 70,584 crowd.
In pure statistical terms, 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.
Within two minutes, they were in front after Brazil’s defence failed to clear an early corner allowing Karen Carney to chase down a loose ball, turn and then thread a pass through a posse of opposition players.
Houghton read it brilliantly, nipped past Andreia and from the tightest of angles and rolled in. It was Houghton's third goal of the competition and the noise that greeted it was amazing.
Brazil rallied, Renata Costa belted a long-range free-kick over, Karen Bardsley denied Cristiane, then skipper Marta.
GB tried to release the pressure but it was the second-half before they created chances of their own.
Unmarked, in a central position, Little should have scored with a firm header which went straight to Andreia.
Then Eniola Aluko found a bit of space on the right of the area, only to slash her shot wide.
When Aluko was tripped by Francielle, Kelly Smith had the responsibility of converting from the spot. But the pressure was too great and a poor spot-kick was turned away by Andreia.
Against opposition of such strength, moments like that can often be pivotal and a previously becalmed Brazil were reignited but Bardsley was equally inspired, turning away an ambitious effort from Marta with her feet as GB held on to claim the win.
 

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