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Great Britain 1 (Houghton 2) Brazil 0
Great Britain clinched top spot in Group E as an early Steph Houghton goal gave them a famous victory over Brazil in front of over 70,000 at Wembley Stadium.
Both teams had already qualified for the quarter finals but the win has earned Hope Powell's side a tie against Canada at the City of Coventry Stadium on Friday whilst Brazil have to face World Champions Japan at the Millennium Stadium.
Hope Powell was forced to make one change to her starting line up with Sophie Bradley coming into the centre of defence to replace the unfortunate Ifeoma Dieke whose tournament has come to an end through injury.
If Great Britain had been hoping for a fast start to the game, things could hardly have gone better. After winning a corner in the second minute, the ball was cleared as far as Karen Carney who twisted past her marker on the right and sent in a low cross. Houghton beat goalkeeper Andreia to the ball and kept her cool to fire her shot through the legs of Erika from an acute angle for her third goal in as many matches.
Brazil's response to the early setback was a positive one and Cristiane was just off target with a shot from the edge of the area. A minute later and this time a good chance was passed up after Carney had given the ball away, Rosana finding Cristiane in space inside the area but she curled her left foot shot wide of the far post.
GB weathered the mini storm and were inches away from a chance to increase their lead. Carney, always one to relish the big occasion, again did well on the right before chipping in a cross which looked destined for Casey Stoney's head but Cristiane just did enough to get a touch and deny the GB captain the opportunity.
Cristiane was heavily involved at both ends of the pitch and the striker was next to try her luck when a neat passing move allowed her to turn and shoot but Karen Bardsley - whose handling was immaculate all evening - gathered comfortably.
However there was nothing Bardsley could do shortly afterwards as Thais Guedes floated a dangerous cross towards the far post and Alex Scott, whilst trying to deny Cristiane a chance, headed the ball against her own post.
GB were having to defend for periods but always looked threatening themselves when going forwards. This showed when Houghton's long ball was headed down by Jill Scott for Kelly Smith whose crisply struck volley sailed inches wide of the far post.
Brazil tried a series of long range shots which did not trouble Bardsley and their frustrations were already starting to grow, particularly those of star striker Marta who had been well shackled up to this point.
Great Britain nearly repeated their flying start in the second half as Eniola Aluko played a cross into the area but Smith could only direct her header straight at Andreia.
Play was flowing from end to end and Brazil won a corner which was headed away by Houghton but only as far as Renata Costa whose volley brought out a good save from Bardsley.
Aluko miscued horribly wide from a great chance but the winger was through on goal a minute later from Kim Little's pass. As she entered the area, Aluko was brought down from behind by Francielle and a penalty was awarded. The Brazilian defender was extremely lucky to escape with a yellow card and, from the spot, Smith's kick was too close to Andreia who saved to her left.
Marta tried to make GB pay further for the miss with a strong run into the area but Bardsley again came to her side's rescue, making a good block with her legs.
GB continued to look good in possession with Little in scintillating form in the centre and the Scot was well supported by Asante who had a superb match in the holding role, breaking up a number of Brazilian attacks.
Little fired an angled shot just wide but at the other end, GB might have had a lucky escape as Houghton appeared to bring down Daiane with a sliding tackle in the area, but no foul was awarded and the full back quickly averted any danger.
Marta shot wastefully over from the edge of the area as Brazil began to look increasingly desperate in the dying minutes. There was one more scare for GB as the game went into injury time when Renata Costa made a driving run towards the edge of the area and evaded three challenges but Bardsley was on hand to save.
GB successfully negotiated the final minutes and at last they could celebrate a memorable win on an extraordinary night. Expectations are sure to rise after such a notable result and the Great Britain bandwagon is on a roll, but Canada must not be underestimated.
Great Britain: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Casey Stoney, Sophie Bradley, Karen Carney (sub Fara Williams 84mins), Anita Asante, Kelly Smith (sub Ellen White 84mins), Kim Little, Eniola Aluko (sub Rachel Yankey 63mins). Subs not used: Rachel Brown, Dunia Susi, Claire Rafferty, Rachel Williams.
Brazil: Andreia, Erika, Renata Costa, Francielle, Bruna (sub Daiane 45mins), Maurine (sub Aline 45mins), Ester (sub Grazielle 72mins), Rosana, Thais Guedes, Marta, Cristiane. Subs not used: Formiga, Danielle, Barbara.
New Zealand finished third in Group E and qualify for the quarter finals after defeating Cameroon 3-1 at the City of Coventry Stadium. Rebecca Smith put the Football Ferns in front just before half time with a Ysis Sonkeng own goal and Sarah Gregorius making it three on the hour. Gabrielle Onguene pulled one back for Cameroon but it was too little, too late for the Africans and they are out of the tournament.
Group F remained close up until the very end and it is Sweden who finished top following their 2-2 draw with Canada at St James' Park. Sweden had raced into a two-goal lead inside sixteen minutes through Marie Hammerstrom and Sofia Jakobsson but Melissa Tancredi reduced the arrears just before half time. The Canada comeback was completed six minutes from time when Tancredi netted her second to see her side safely through to the last eight. Japan meanwhile fought out their second successive goalless draw, this time with South Africa, and they have to settle for second place.
United States maintained their winning form in Group G at Old Trafford but it was a somewhat laboured 1-0 success over Korea DPR. Abby Wambach scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half and the result means that Korea are eliminated. The other match saw France take the runners-up position courtesy of a 1-0 victory against Colombia, given to them by a fifth minute strike from Elodie Thomis.
Quarter final line up:
to be played on Friday 3rd August
Sweden v France (12pm at Hampden Park)
United States v New Zealand (2.30pm at St James' Park)
Brazil v Japan (5pm at the Millennium Stadium)
Great Britain v Canada (7.30pm at the City of Coventry Stadium)
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