Martin Whiteley recaps the action in the final group games of the Olympic women’s football tournament.
Vivianne Miedema is leading the race to become top scorer at the Olympics after she fired a deadly double in the Netherlands’ 8-2 thrashing of China.
The irrepressible Arsenal attacker may have only been introduced as a second-half substitute on 62 minutes, but it was enough time to take her tally to a historic eight goals in three games and help the European champions to top Group F on goal difference ahead of Brazil.
Miedema broke the record for most goals scored in a single Olympic women’s football tournament that was held by Canada legend Christine Sinclair with six goals — a tally also matched by Barbra Banda. But with Zambia’s Games now over, she faces competition for the crown from international team-mate Lieke Martens on four goals.
The Netherlands now face an intriguing quarter-final clash with the USA — who were held to a 0-0 draw with Australia — on Friday after their World Cup final heartbreak in 2019.
The USA reached the knockout stage despite playing out a cagey 0-0 draw with the Aussies and failing to claim top spot in Group G.
The four-time gold medallists knew one point would see them through to the last eight as they came into the final group match second on goal difference, but a marked improvement is required if they are to overcome free-scoring Netherlands in the knockouts.
With the Dutch gunning for revenge, the Americans will need to quicken their passing to cope with the scoring exploits of Miedema as well as Martens and Shanice van de Sanden who also struck against China.
Australia progressed as one of the two best third-placed teams and will face Great Britain in the quarter-finals after Caroline Weir’s late equaliser not only secured a 1-1 draw with Canada but top spot in Group E.
All eyes will now be on the shooting contest between Matildas captain Sam Kerr and Team GB rival Ellen White who have both scored three goals this tournament.
Brazil set up a last-eight clash with Canada after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over 10-woman Zambia, who were the unlucky third-placed side that missed out on qualifying for the knockout stage.
Andressa hit the 19th-minute winner for the South Americans after defender Lushomo Mweemba saw red.
Although Zambia only managed to pick up a single point in the tournament, Banda will not forget her time in Japan in a hurry. The forward became the first woman in Olympic history to score two hat-tricks at one Games after her trebles in their 4-4 draw with China and 10-3 rout by the Dutch.
Sweden reached the quarter-finals with a perfect record from Group G after beating New Zealand 2-0.
The table-topping Swedes made it three wins out of three thanks to first-half goals from Anna Anvegard and Madelen Janogy.
They now face a showdown with hosts Japan, who finished second in Group E after supersub Mina Tanaka’s 77th-minute winner was enough to see off Chile.
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