Brazil on course after beating New Zealand

28 July 2012 05:16

A late goal by Cristiane saw Brazil keep their bid for a first gold medal in women's Olympic football on track as they beat New Zealand 1-0 in Cardiff on Saturday.

Victory meant the Samba Queens, silver medallists at the last two Olympics, made it two wins out of two at London 2012 after thrashing Cameroon 5-0.

But this was a far more gruelling contest against a New Zealand side who, as in their opening 1-0 defeat by hosts Great Britain, proved a tough team to break down.

It looked as if this latest Group E fixture would end as a goalless draw until, four minutes from time, Cristiane struck.

New Zealand goalkeeper Jenny Bindon came off her line to punch clear but only knocked the ball to the edge of the box and Cristiane lobbed the ball into the net, despite desperate attempts by Kiwi defenders to head clear.

"New Zealand are a very good team, very organised," said Cristiane.

"Nobody said any of these matches at the Olympics were going to be easy."

This match also saw 34-year-old midfielder Formiga, the only women's footballer to have competed in all five Olympics since the sport was introduced to the Games, make her 100th international appearance for Brazil.

"It makes me really proud to reach 100 matches for Brazil, but my mind is only set on winning the gold medal," Formiga insisted.

Elsewhere Japan, bidding to add Olympic gold to the World Cup title they won last year, were held to a goalless draw by Sweden.

Both sides came into the Group F clash on the back of wins, with Japan having defeated Canada 2-1 in their opener and Sweden thrashing South Africa 4-1.

But clear chances were in short supply at the City of Coventry Stadium in the English Midlands, although it needed some sound saves from Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl to keep this match scoreless.

Disappointed Japan captain Aya Miyama said: "We are not very happy. We want to get a gold medal and win all our matches so we are quite disappointed."

Japan saw Aya Sameshima try her luck midway through the first half before Sweden striker Sofia Jakobsson's effort just drifted wide of the post.

Lindahl did well to deny Nahomi Kawasumi early in the second half and the Sweden keeper was quickly off her line to snuff out a break by Yuki Ogimi.

Also in Group F Canada proved too strong for South Africa, winning 3-0 thanks to two goals from captain Christine Sinclair and one from fellow forward Melissa Tancredi.

The United States, the reigning Olympic champions, are in action later Saturday against Colombia, having had to come from two goals down to beat France 4-2 in their opener, while Great Britain face Cameroon.

Meanwhile officials in Glasgow will hope North Korea's match against France later Saturday passes off without incident after the flag row that overshadowed their first match at Hampden Park.

Source: AFP