Women's football in Tokyo 2020: Sweden, Great Britain book quarterfinal berths

Great Britain, which for the first time is bringing in all the four British football associations under one flag, has continued to impress in group E.

Sophie Ingle of Great Britain in action against Japan.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The United States women's team rebounded spectacularly after its opening-round loss against Sweden to completely outplay New Zealand 6-1 in the second round group G match at the Saitama Stadium on Saturday.

Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press, Alex Morgan were among goals, besides the two own goals that secured the emphatic win for the four-time Olympic champion.

The win hoisted the United States to the second spot in the group where the last edition’s silver medallist at Rio, Sweden, continued to occupy the top position and also became a team to progress to the quarterfinals. The Swedish women overcame the Australian challenge notching a 4-2 win. Sweden briefly fell back against the Australians, who went 2-1 up early in the second half but recovered well to secure the full three points in the end.

The first half ended 1-1 after a goal each from Swedish forward Fridolina Rolfo and Australian captain Samantha Kerr kept the two teams tied. Kerr found the goal early in the second half (48th minute) to see The Matildas surging in the lead. But quick replies from Lina Hurtig (52) and Rolfo (63) brought the advantage back to Sweden.

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Enjoying a greater share of the exchanges in the match, the Australian had a chance to equalise when a VAR review of Swedish defender Filippa Angeldal’s foul on Australian attacker Caitlin Foord awarded The Matildas a penalty in the 70th minute. Kerr missed the chance of equalising for Australia and score a hat-trick when her effort from the spot was saved by the veteran Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl. Sweden made full use of the reprieve and doubled the lead when Stina Blackstenius found the fourth goal for the Swedes in the 82nd minute.

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The Netherlands and Brazil remained in the hunt for a quarterfinal berth in group F after seeing their much-anticipated contest ending in a 3-3 draw. The see-saw contest saw the Dutch gaining the lead twice but the Brazilians found the equaliser on each occasion. Brazil altered the trend by finding the lead in the 68th minute just to see the Dutch drawing level to force a draw.

Great Britain, which for the first time is bringing in all the four British football associations under one flag, has continued to impress in group E. It reached the knock-out stage by lodging six full points from two wins and a clean slate to boast about.

The results of women’s football group league (second round):

Group E (Sapporo): Chile 1 (Karen Araya 57) lost to Canada 2 (Janine Beckie 39, 47), Japan 0 lost to Great Britain 1 (Ellen White 74).

Group F (Rifu): China 4 (Wang Shuang 6, 22, 23, 84-pen) drew with Zambia 4 (Racheal Kundananji 15, Barbra Banda 43-pen, 46, 69), Netherlands 3 (Vivianne Miedema 3, 59, Dominique Janssen 79) drew with Brazil (Debinha Miri 16, Marta 65-pen, Ludmila 68).

Group G (Saitama): Sweden 4 (Fridolina Rolfo 20, 63, Lina Hurtig 52, Emma Blackstenius 82) bt Australia (Samantha Kerr 36, 48), New Zealand 1 (Betsy Hassett 72) lost to United States 6 (Rose Lavelle 9, Lindsey Horan 45, Abby Erceg 63-og, Christen Press 80, Alex Morgan 88, Catherine Bott 90+3-og).

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