Team GB were completely “devastated” after their dream for Olympic glory was ended by Australia in a frenetic 4-3 defeat after extra-time.
A last-gasp equaliser and a missed penalty cost Team GB a place in the semi-finals after Ellen White’s double had give them a 2-1 lead going into the final minute of normal time. Yet, a defensive error allowed Chelsea’s striker Sam Kerr to haul Australia level and take the game to extra-time.
Caroline Weir then missed from the spot before goals from Mary Fowler and Kerr sent the Matildas into the semis, with Manchester City’s White completing her hat-trick in vain. After the game, eam GB’s head coach Hege Riise said:
“It is hard to lose a game like this.”
“We were well prepared. I think we played most of the game quite well. We created a lot of chances, probably should have finished a few of them. Now it’s quite hard. We are all devastated.”
Great Britain started well and Keira Walsh crashed a shot against the post with Teagan Micah beaten but, against the run of play, Australia took the lead after 35 minutes. Stokes conceded a corner and when Arsenal’s Stephanie Catley whipped the ball in Alanna Kennedy beat Leah Williamson to head in from six yards. Yet, White was again Team GB’s hero when she levelled after 57 minutes.
Australia nearly regained the lead three minutes later when Steph Houghton turned the ball onto her own bar from close range. Team GB went ahead when Australia failed to clear a throw-in and White reacted quickest in the box, firing first-time into the corner despite Micah getting a touch.
Hemp almost added a third with an audacious long-range lob which had Micah scrambling, but it floated just wide. Instead, in the 89th minute Team GB hesitated fatally when the ball dropped to Kerr in the area. Nobody closed down the Chelsea’s forward, who had all the time in the world to steady herself before firing past Ellie Roebuck.
In extra-time, Micah did well to tip Walsh’s deflected drive over the crossbar, and from the corner pushed White’s close-range effort wide. Great Britain were gifted the chance to take the lead again nine minutes into extra-time when Nikita Parris fell under a challenge from her former Lyon team-mate Ellie Carpenter. Weir stepped up to take the penalty but Micah saved her effort, diving to her left.
Later on, Team GB were stunned when Australia went ahead, a long-range shot from Fowler taking a deflection off Lucy Bronze and flying into the top corner. Kerr made it 4-2 inside the first minute of the second half, rising above Houghton to head in off the underside of the crossbar.
White pulled one back with another header for her 6th goal of the Games with just five minutes remaining, but they could not force an equaliser.
On the other side, the United States reversed their Rio 2016 heartbreak and assured themselves of a medal, after beating The Netherlands in a thrilling penalty shootout (2-4 pens). But which colour?
The journey to that answer will begin on Friday when the Americans face Canada in a border war with a spot in the Olympic final on the line, while Australia will face Sweden. Now, the question is clear: Who will reach the final and win the dreamed gold?