Women's Team

Olympics: Team GB and Canada to lock horns for top spot

Olympics: Team GB and Canada to lock horns for top spot
Another exciting day of Olympic action saw all 12 of our Manchester City stars on the winning side on Matchday Two.

Team GB, Canada and the USA all emerged victorious on Matchday Two with GB securing progression to the knock-out stages with a 1-0 victory over Japan.

Ellen White was on the scoresheet once more, netting her third goal of the tournament with a brave header at the near post, while Lucy Bronze also crafted her second assist.

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Once again, there was a strong City contingent in Hege Riise’s starting XI with seven of Gareth Taylor’s squad named, while Jill Scott, Georgia Stanway and Caroline Weir were all introduced from the bench.

A cagey affair was decided with 15 minutes to go and Keira Walsh believes her side grew in confidence against the tournament hosts.

“The Japanese midfield is so technical and it's always tough game,” she reflected.

“We were too tentative in the first half and didn't get on the front foot.

"We settled and got in their face in the second half and were much more aggressive.

“It's another really great win.”

While White proved the hero once more at the sharp end of the pitch, she hailed GB's defensive solidity.

“Even as a striker, we all take pride in clean sheets,” she said. "I know the defenders and the goalkeeper definitely do.

“We work really hard on our defensive shape - not wanting to concede goals.

“It was about being patient. We were super patient in our forward play. The whole team worked tremendously hard to get another clean sheet.”

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GB will hope to cement top spot in Group E in their final group game but face second-place Canada, who claimed their first win of the tournament with a 2-1 triumph over Chile.

City forward Janine Beckie bagged a brace at the Sapporo Dome, showing excellent resilience to bounce back after seeing a penalty strike the post in the first half.

Within 20 minutes, she had opened the scoring with a superb reactive finish and doubled the lead two minutes after the break, timing her run to perfection and rounding Christiane Endler before sliding home.

Karen Araya converted from the spot before the hour-mark to halve the deficit but Canada hung on to lift themselves to four points in second spot, following their 1-1 draw with Japan in Matchday One.

Beckie praised her side’s response, expressing her own delight to get off the mark in the tournament.

“As a forward, it’s my job to put the ball in the back of the net so to come back after a less than ideal performance in the first game, to win, is what we wanted,” she declared.

“Tournaments are about winning and it’s about three points and that’s what we did today so I’m just happy to do my job for the team.”

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Team GB and Canada lock horns on Tuesday 27 July at 12:00 (UK time), competing for top position, which would secure a quarter-final clash against the third-placed team in either Group F or G – and potentially reduced travel time between games.

The runner-up of Group E would face the second-placed team in Group F with both fixtures set to take place on Friday 30 July.

Ahead of the group finale, White predicted an exciting encounter against GB's nemesis at the 2012 Games.

“We know that they’re a very good side,” she added. “We’ll work on what we need to improve from this game and what we’ve done very well. It will be a really competitive and exciting game."

Meanwhile, Abby Dahlkemper’s USA recovered from their opening day defeat to Sweden with a thumping 6-1 victory over New Zealand.

Former City midfielder Rose Lavelle broke the deadlock in Tokyo before a Lindsey Horan strike and Abby Erceg own-goal handed the World Cup winners a commanding lead.

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New Zealand’s Betsy Hassett, who played for City in 2014 – our debut campaign in the FA Women’s Super League, reduced the arrears but Christen Press and Alex Morgan restored the advantage before another own-goal from Catherine Bott completed the scoring.  

The USWNT sit level on points with Australia in Group G – three points behind Sweden, who booked a spot in the last eight with a 4-2 win over the Matildas.

However, Vlatko Andonovski’s side boast a superior goal difference and will clinch a place in the knock-out rounds with victory or a draw against Australia in the final group game (Tuesday 27 July, 9:00 UK time).

Defeat could even secure progression, should the Stars and Stripes finish as one of the top two third-placed teams.

The winner of Group G would play the best third-placed team of Group E or F, while the runner-up would play the winner of Group F.

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