LONDON – Hosts Britain, reigning champions the United States and gold medal contenders Brazil all qualified for the quarter-finals of the women’s soccer tournament after maintaining their perfect starts at the London Olympics on Saturday.
North Korea will join them if they beat France in the day’s late match at Hampden Park.
Britain, competing for the first time, were too strong for African champions Cameroon and won 3-0 in front of 31,000 fans at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, to follow up their historic first win against New Zealand on Wednesday.
The United States, bidding for a third successive gold, also won 3-0 against Colombia in Glasgow while Brazil, bidding for a first Olympic soccer gold, beat New Zealand 1-0 at Cardiff with another goal from Cristiane, whose overall tally of 12 is an Olympic all-time scoring record.
World champions Japan, however, were held to a 0-0 draw by Sweden in Coventry and are not yet definitely through.
Britain proved too strong for Cameroon and always looked like winning after Casey Stoney and Jill Scott put them 2-0 ahead after 23 minutes. Steph Houghton, who scored England’s first ever Olympic goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over New Zealand wrapped up the points with the third in the 82nd minute.
British coach Hope Powell said afterwards: “We are happy to win the game. They were very physical and quick but we were disciplined and we executed all three goals well.”
The U.S followed up their opening win against France with a solid performance against Colombia with goals from Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, with her 140th international goal, and Carli Lloyd, with the last two goals coming in the last 16 minutes.
Rapinoe said afterwards she was delighted the U.S. had clinched their place in the last eight before meeting North Korea in their final game.
“Now we have officially qualified it feels really good.”
The women’s competition, unlike the men’s, is open to players of all ages with the top two from each of the three groups and the best two third place teams going into the knockout stages.