Olympics football: GB inspired by fantastic Wembley atmosphere

Great Britain coach Hope Powell described the crowd as "inspiring" after her team beat Brazil 1-0 in front of 70,584 at Wembley on Tuesday.

"It gave us an edge, it was fantastic," said Powell after GB defeated the 2004 and 2008 silver medallists.

"Usually when I talk on the sidelines the girls can hear me, but this was a good excuse for them to ignore me."

Group-winners GB will now play Canada in their 2012 Olympic quarter-final at City of Coventry Stadium on Friday.

Canada drew 2-2 with Sweden on Tuesday to finish third in Group F and scrape through to the last eight, but Powell reckons that despite GB winning all their group games without conceding they face a very tough task.

"Canada are a decent side, their group was tough," said Powell after their last-eight opponents finished behind Sweden and world champion's Japan.

"I went to Switzerland to watch them a couple of weeks ago when they played New Zealand and I have come up against them a couple of times before as England coach.

"It will be a hard contest. I know their manager John Herdman and their fitness levels are 10 times better than they used to be."

Group E final standings

Pld Won Draw Lost Pts

GB

3

3

0

0

9

Brazil

3

2

0

1

6

NZ

3

1

0

2

3

Cameroon

3

0

0

3

0

Powell was enthused by the atmosphere inside Wembley and is hopeful that the confidence gained on a memorable night will help her team when they try to secure a semi-final berth against either reigning Olympic champions USA or New Zealand.

"The atmosphere was electric and we got off to a great start," added Powell. "We spoke about it beforehand, about keeping the momentum going.

"Personally, I wish I could thank every one of the supporters.

"We are trying to leave a really positive legacy. I read somewhere that the Olympics was a platform to do that and I think that against Brazil we partly achieved it."

Steph Houghton struck in the second minute - her third goal in as many games - and Kelly Smith went close to adding a second after the break but her penalty was saved by Andreia in the Brazil goal.

"I have never played in such a good side that is so confident," said veteran striker Smith.

"Great Britain have secured a magnificent win. There are quite a few girls making golden reputations for themselves and no one more so than Steph Houghton. It has been a fabulous evening at Wembley, the spirit of the Olympics seems to have been fed into every fibre of these girls' being. GB will really fancy themselves now to beat Canada and go through to the semis."

The passionate crowd set a British-record attendance for a women's match, surpassing the 53,000 who watched a game between Preston-based touring side Dick, Kerr's Ladies FC and St Helens Ladies at Goodison Park in 1920.

Full-back and Londoner Alex Scott said the experience felt like a dream.

"Did that just really happen," joked the 27-year-old. "But you know what, we could still be out there playing now because that is how confident we looked about getting the win.

"Everyone was thinking that Brazil were going to beat us but we can take belief from that result and we think we can beat anyone in this tournament."

And as GB reach the stage where they are now one match away from guaranteeing themselves a shot at a medal, Powell is keen to stress upon her players that the whole Olympic experience is something that must continue to be savoured.

"On the first day we met one of the first things I said was that this could be a wonderful experience, something that the players might not experience again.

"Part of that is fun and enjoyment and we have got to embrace it."