#TeamGB Women edge Japan to reach Olympic quarter-finals

Ellen White celebates the only goal
Ellen White celebrates scoring what was the only goal of the game. (Daniela Porcelli/Sports Press Photo)

Team GB Women defeated Olympic hosts Japan 1-0 with an Ellen White goal to book their place in the knockout stages.

Mina Tanaka pulled a shot wide for the Nadeshiko in a game of few chances, while a couple of unthreatening Lauren Hemp headers was all that GB could muster in the first period.

Hege Riise’s side upped the pace after the break, with Steph Houghton putting an effort over the bar and Nikita Parris curling one just wide of the far post.

The introduction of Caroline Weir in place of Sophie Ingle saw GB’s midfield switch to a slightly more attacking shape and with 18 minutes to go, Lucy Bronze put the ball into the box and White’s run to and leap at the near post saw her beat both defender and keeper to it, as it dropped inside the far post.

“We are all happy with two wins now. It puts us in a good position, able to rest players and recover well. We are very happy,” said coach Here Riise after the match.

“We put Sophie [Ingle] in more as a little defending player against Japan. I think that worked well. Of course attack-wise we lacked a little more. But we knew that could happen. But I feel like the connection got better and better each game and that’s what we need to get used to. That will be during the tournament as well. Second half we changed formation a little. We came out well and controlled the game much better.”

And when asked out Ellen White’s goal, she said: “It was a great goal. It was from nothing. That’s the small margin. When you play a top team like Japan, that’s the detail from an excellent player. That moment is game changing.”

Team GB complete their group games against Canada on Wednesday, with a noon kick-off (UK time).

Women’s pre-season friendlies for Sunday 25 July

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