London 2012: Arsenal’s Team GB hero Steph Houghton in dreamland after Brazil win
Defender’s third goal in as many games sets up Olympic quarter-final with Canada on Friday
Arsenal Ladies star Steph Houghton described her latest Olympic experience as ‘unbelievable’ after scoring the winner for Team GB against Brazil at Wembley.
Gunners left-back Houghton had only scored one international goal before the tournament started, but she maintained her record of scoring in every game with the second-minute winner on Tuesday night to secure a memorable win and a quarter-final against Canada on Friday.
Houghton is one of six Arsenal Ladies in the squad and they all featured in the win over Brazil in front of crowd of 70,584, a record for a women’s football game in Britain.
And the 24-year-old said afterwards: “It’s unbelievable and amazing. To play in front of more than 70,000 people, you couldn’t dream of a better day.
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“There was no pressure on us because we knew we had qualified for the quarter-finals already. But now we are looking forward to Friday against Canada and we will just try to recover and then focus on that match.”
Her Arsenal team-mates Kim Little, Alex Scott and Kelly Smith also started against Brazil, with Smith missing a second-half penalty, while Ellen White and Rachel Yankey both appeared as second-half substitutes.
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It was Team GB’s third successive win in the group stages and saw them top their group without conceding a goal. Now the GB girls will head to the City of Coventry Stadium on Friday night to meet the Canadians who came third in their group. Victory there would set up a likely semi-final against reigning Olympic champions USA at Old Trafford on Monday.
Team GB manager Hope Powell did her best to prevent everybody getting too carried away after Tuesday’s win, but she knows the momentum behind her side claiming a first ever women’s football medal for Great Britain is growing.
“Every game, we’ve done well, we’ve won the game, we’ve topped the group,” said Powell. The danger is that everybody starts jumping on this ‘medal’.
“We still have to play Canada. They want a medal as much as anybody else. We’re not in a position yet to get a medal.”
Of her matchwinner Houghton, she joked: “I don’t know if she’s in line for the golden boot? She’s absolutely loving every minute of it. So, for her, all the hard work has paid off.”