GLASGOW: The United States qualified for the quarter-finals of the Olympic women’s football with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Colombia at Hampden Park. Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd were on target as Pia Sundhage’s side made it two wins from two and left their South American opponents on the brink of elimination.
The reigning champions were simply too strong for the brave Colombians and dominated from the start, with Sandra Sepulveda forced into a brave early save at Alex Morgan’s feet after just five minutes. USA had the ball in the net soon after through Lauren Cheney, and though the forward – one of three changes from the team against France – was rightly penalised for hauling back Natalia Gaitain, it wasn’t long before a legitimate goal arrived.
A spectacular strike it was too, with Rapinoe curling a powerful right-foot shot high beyond the reach of the helpless Sepulveda from 25 yards. Rapinoe has been an impressive performer at London 2012 and she was denied what seemed a certain second as half-time approached, with Colombia captain Natalia Gaitain somehow scrambling the ball away after the US No15 had volleyed goalwards from just five yards.
USA’s relentless push continued in the second half though, and with 73 minutes on the clock Wambach finally made it 2-0, working a neat one-two with Tobin Heath before bursting into the box and sliding a low right-foot shot into the far corner of the net. The goal was Wambach’s sixth at the Olympics and takes the big striker beyond Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett as her team’s all-time leading scorer at this illustrious event.
It also removed any lingering doubt about where the points were heading, and there was still time for Lloyd to cap a thoroughly satisfying afternoon’s work for Sundhage’s side with a third goal 13 minutes from time. This one rounded off a patient, probing US move, with Lloyd coolly side-footing into the bottom corner after being played through by a defence-splitting pass from the excellent Rapinoe.
France 5 North Korea 0
Substitute Elodie Thomis scored one and made another two as France responded to their opening match defeat with a thumping 5-0 win over North Korea at Hampden Park.
Thomis’ pace proved too much for the North Koreans to handle and secured a lopsided result that leaves Les Bleues’ level with their Asian opponents on three points, but with a vastly superior goal difference.
In a first half of few chances, France threatened first after 23 minutes when the towering Wendie Renard rose highest at a Sandrine Soubeyrand corner to bullet in a header. The ball seemed destined for the corner of the net but Yun Song-Mi, stationed on the right-hand post, sprung across the line to bundle the ball clear.
Having nearly scored at one end, Renard was then called into action at the other, booting the ball to safety from a goal-bound Ri Ye-Gyong shot after goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi had spilled a through ball and been left stranded on the edge of her box.
Opportunities remained at a premium but, just as half-time was looming with the teams deadlocked, France took the lead. Again, the threat came from a Soubeyrand corner, floated to the back post, with Laura Georges on this occasion charging in powerfully to head home from close range.
France were just about deserving of their narrow lead at that stage but, if the first half had been tight, the second was all one-way traffic.
The introduction of speedy winger Thomis provided Bruno Bini’s side with the cutting edge they had been lacking, and it was the Lyon player who made it 2-0, racing on to a Louisa Necib pass and drilling a low shot beyond Jo-Yun Mi at her near post.
Then, just a minute later, Thomis turned creator, again using her pace to bolt down the right and cut the ball back for Delie to slot home from close range.
With the North Koreans demoralised, France ran away with it in the closing stages, Renard bulleting home another Soubeyrand corner before substitute Camille Catala completed the rout by heading in an excellent looping cross from the inspirational Thomis.
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