Sweden, Great Britain cruise to next round in Olympic women’s football tournament

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Tokyo – Both Sweden and Great Britain achieved early qualification for the Olympic women’s football tournament quarter-finals after a second consecutive each in their own group on Saturday.

It was a day which also saw two thrilling draws with plenty of goals.

After overpowering gold medal hopeful U.S in the opening match, Sweden continued their strong run in the group by defeating Australia.

The women Socceroos took a 2-1 lead in the match and were awarded a penalty kick when their opponents regained the lead again at 3-2.

But Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl saved the penalty kick before her team extended the lead to 4-2, locking a spot in the next round.

In action, the U.S rebounded from their previous loss by crushing New Zealand 6-1.

In Group E, the goal by British forward Ellen White set apart her team and hosts Japan and they secured an early qualification with two wins.

Canada beat Chile 2-1 to rest at the second place in the group.

In Group F, China and Zambia had a 4-4 draw after a goal fest.

Chinese player Wang Shuang scoring all four goals for her team and Zambia’s Barbra Banda bagged a hat-trick for the second match in a row.

Both teams ended with point after two matches with China taking third place in the group by advantage of goals differences.

The “Steel Roses” are facing a daunting task to defeat World Cup runners-up the Netherlands in the last group stage match on to qualify for the next round.

After scoring six goals in two matches, Zambian captain Banda has tied the record for most goals scored by a woman in Olympic football since the inaugural event at Atlanta 1996.

Netherland forward Vivianne Miedema soon joined the rank after adding a brace to her previous four goals in another high-scoring draw which saw her team and Brazil tied 3-3.(Xinhua/NAN).