• London 2012 - Football

Great Britain shock Brazil at Wembley

ESPN staff
July 31, 2012

Steph Houghton secured arguably the finest result in the history of UK women's football as Hope Powell's Great Britain side stormed to a 1-0 victory over Brazil at Wembley to send them through to the Olympic quarter-finals as Group E winners.

Medal Table

There have been more significant achievements but even Football Association officials privately conceded that against such formidable opposition, in front of a British record 70,584 crowd, there has been no better evening.

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.

The goal came as, struggling to clear an early corner, Brazil's lethargic defence allowed 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, rolled in. It was Houghton's third goal of the competition and the noise that greeted it was amazing. On the touchline, Powell's first reaction was telling. Hands down. Calm down.

In the group's other game, New Zealand recorded a 3-1 win against bottom-placed Cameroon at the City of Coventry Stadium to book a place in the last eight - despite losing their opening two games to Brazil and Great Britain - as one of the two best third-placed sides along with Canada.

Abby Wambach made it three wins out of three for reigning Olympic champions United States in this year's tournament with the defining moment of their 1-0 victory over North Korea. Wambach scored her 141st goal in her 185th appearance for her country in front of a 29,522 crowd at Old Trafford.

It was enough to guarantee the United States top spot in Group G, and a quarter-final clash with New Zealand at St James' Park on Friday.

Elodie Thomis fired France into an Olympic quarter-final showdown with Sweden after a narrow 1-0 victory over Colombia. The Lyon winger's early strike was enough to claim the points, although a resilient display by keeper Sandra Sepulveda and a second-half Colombian fightback ensured the result remained in doubt until the final whistle.

Striker Melissa Tancredi claimed a double as Canada came from behind to snatch a precious 2-2 draw with Sweden to ensure both teams go through to the quarter-finals. John Herdman's side trailed 2-0 to goals from Marie Hammarstrom and Sofia Jakobsson as the Swedes got off to a flying start, but Tancredi reduced the deficit before the break and then claimed a later equaliser.

And South Africa battled their way to a first Olympic point while Japan advanced to the quarter-finals as group runners-up after a 0-0 draw at the Millennium Stadium.

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