Olympic women’s football: Team GB beat Japan to qualify for knockout stages

Tokyo Olympics: Ellen White helps Team GB reach knockout stages with win over Japan

Great Britain guaranteed their progress to the knockout stages of the Olympic women’s football competition with victory over hosts Japan in Sapporo.

Ellen White scored the winner, taking her tally to three goals in the tournament, nodding in a cross from full-back Lucy Bronze in the 74th minute.

Both teams took the knee before kick-off in an empty Sapporo Dome.

Hege Riise’s side are top of Group E with one game remaining, while Japan are third with one point going into their final group match against Chile.

In the earlier Group E kick-off, Manchester City’s Janine Beckie scored twice to give Canada a 2-1 victory over Chile, who are yet to pick up a point.

White produces winning moment again

Team GB celebrate
Ellen White has scored all of Team GB’s goals at Tokyo 2020 so far

White continued her impressive goalscoring form at international level and was the matchwinner yet again after her two goals had given GB victory over Chile in their opening game.

It means GB are in the driving seat to top the group. They play Canada, who sit two points behind them, on Tuesday (12:00 BST kick-off).

Riise made four changes to the side who beat Chile, with Scotland’s Kim Little taking the armband off Steph Houghton, while Wales’ Sophie Ingle started her first game for GB.

But it was Manchester City youngster Lauren Hemp who was again the main threat down the left in the first half.

Her two tame headers were GB’s only chances of note before the break and Japan were causing problems down Bronze’s wing with smart overlapping runs.

But White produced a moment of quality when it mattered, running across the goalkeeper to take advantage of her error and nod in the winner with less than 20 minutes remaining.

She also scored the winning goal against Japan for England at the SheBelieves Cup a year ago.

‘It puts us in a good position’

Nikita Parris takes the knee against Japan
Nikita Parris returned to the starting XI and took the knee alongside her Team GB team-mates before kick-off

Team GB head coach Hege Riise: “We are all happy with two wins now. It puts us in a good position, able to rest players and recover well. We are very happy.

“We put Sophie Ingle in more as a defensive player against Japan. I think that worked well.

“Of course attacking-wise we lacked a little more. But we knew that could happen. I feel like the connection has got better and better each game and that’s what we need to get used to.

“That will be during the tournament as well. In the second half we changed the formation a little. We came out well and controlled the game much better.”

Japan’s Saki Kumagai on their decision to take the knee: “We had a discussion as a team. It has really given us the opportunity to talk about racial discrimination, and [taking the knee] was also about the fact that we have respect towards Great Britain.”

‘Great header’ – Ellen White heads GB in front against Japan

‘GB need to play better against Canada’ – analysis

Former Great Britain captain Casey Stoney on BBC One:

Team GB will want to play better and they will need to as the tournament progresses.

But in tournaments you need to win and they’ve got three points on the board, six points in total and they are through to the quarter-finals. That is the main thing.

You want to top the group, you want to play third place rather than second place in the Dutch and Brazil group.

Canada manager Bev Priestman will know a lot of these players very well having been an England assistant under Phil Neville.

It’s a big job for Team GB but they are good enough to win that game against Canada on Tuesday.

Former Great Britain international Karen Carney on BBC Radio 5 Live:

Bronze is so good getting down that right-hand side and into attacking areas. She pushes defenders back.

If you put the ball into the box, there is no-one better than White to sniff out opportunities and we saw that with the goal.

She got across the defender, anticipated it, was brave and it’s a fantastic finish.



Formation 4-4-2

  • 18YamashitaBooked at 79mins
  • 2Shimizu
  • 4Kumagai
  • 5Minami
  • 16Miyagawa
  • 13ShiokoshiSubstituted forMomikiat 55′minutes
  • 7NakajimaSubstituted forIwabuchiat 80′minutes
  • 20HayashiBooked at 30minsSubstituted forMiuraat 67′minutes
  • 6Sugita
  • 14Hasegawa
  • 11TanakaSubstituted forEndoat 68′minutes


  • 1Ikeda
  • 3Takarada
  • 8Miura
  • 9Sugasawa
  • 10Iwabuchi
  • 12Endo
  • 15Momiki


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Roebuck
  • 2Bronze
  • 5Houghton
  • 16Williamson
  • 3Stokes
  • 4Walsh
  • 6IngleSubstituted forWeirat 59′minutes
  • 7ParrisSubstituted forDalyat 75′minutes
  • 8LittleSubstituted forScottat 89′minutes
  • 15HempSubstituted forStanwayat 88′minutes
  • 9White


  • 11Weir
  • 12Daly
  • 13Telford
  • 14Bright
  • 17Stanway
  • 18Scott
  • 19Charles

Anastasia Pustovoytova

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Japan 0, Great Britain Women 1.

  2. Second Half ends, Japan 0, Great Britain Women 1.

  3. Attempt missed. Caroline Weir (Great Britain Women) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

  4. Georgia Stanway (Great Britain Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Foul by Narumi Miura (Japan).

  6. Substitution, Great Britain Women. Jill Scott replaces Kim Little.

  7. Substitution, Great Britain Women. Georgia Stanway replaces Lauren Hemp.

  8. Corner, Japan. Conceded by Leah Williamson.

  9. Attempt blocked. Nicole Momiki (Japan) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Yui Hasegawa.

  10. Offside, Japan. Ayaka Yamashita tries a through ball, but Mana Iwabuchi is caught offside.

  11. Substitution, Japan. Mana Iwabuchi replaces Emi Nakajima.

  12. Lauren Hemp (Great Britain Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Foul by Nicole Momiki (Japan).

  14. Ayaka Yamashita (Japan) is shown the yellow card.

  15. Lauren Hemp (Great Britain Women).

  16. Ayaka Yamashita (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Attempt missed. Lauren Hemp (Great Britain Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lucy Bronze with a cross.

  18. Attempt missed. Leah Williamson (Great Britain Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Caroline Weir with a cross following a set piece situation.

  19. Lauren Hemp (Great Britain Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Foul by Narumi Miura (Japan).

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