Brazil failed in yet another attempt to win a major women’s soccer title, and Britain came up short in perhaps the only chance they would ever get.
The US and Japan, though, are moving ever closer to another final showdown.
World champion Japan ousted Brazil 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the Olympic women’s soccer tournament on Friday despite getting largely outplayed, while the US ousted New Zealand by the same score.
The US are scheduled to next play Canada, which stunned host Britain 2-0 in Coventry to end the team’s hopes of getting a medal in its first — and maybe only — competition as a unified team.
Japan are to play France, which ousted Sweden 2-1.
Japan beat the US in the final of last year’s World Cup, but still entered the game against Brazil as underdogs. The South Americans controlled play for most of the game, but Japan capitalized on the few counterattacks they created to hand Brazil their earliest elimination ever from the Olympics.
Strikers Yuki Ogimi and Shinobu Ohno scored a goal in each half for Japan, leaving the Brazilians fuming at their inability to convert their chances.
“To see our team have so many opportunities and not score, and see the other team playing only at the back and scoring two goals is a tragedy,” Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos said.
The US were far more convincing in beating New Zealand, with Abby Wambach again leading the way.
Wambach has scored in every match of the tournament and the 32-year-old striker slid onto a pass in the 27th minute, then celebrated with a cartwheel.
Sydney Leroux added an insurance goal in the 87th minute for the two-time defending Olympic champions.
The British team had become increasingly popular at home, especially after beating Brazil in their final group match at Wembley, and had not conceded a goal in their first three games.
However, Canada scored twice in the first half as the British were undone by defensive mistakes at the City of Coventry Stadium.
Jonelle Filigno scored Canada’s opener after 16 minutes when she curled a half volley into the top corner after being left unmarked at a corner. Captain Christine Sinclair doubled the Canadian lead in the 27th with a well-struck free-kick.
France, which features one of the most potent attacks of the tournament, needed two defenders to provide the goals against Sweden.
Sweden went ahead through captain Nilla Fischer in the 18th minute after the ball bounced off her shoulder following a corner kick, but Laura Georges equalized with a header in the 29th and Wendie Renard netted the winner with a close-range shot in the 39th.
Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi also was crucial for the win, making a point-blank save in the 72nd to keep the French ahead. She dived to her right and just barely tipped Fischer’s close-range shot wide.