August 4th, 2012 by jos
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — France advanced to the semifinals of the women’s Olympic soccer tournament Friday by beating Sweden 2-1 with goals by defenders Laura Georges and Wendie Renard.
Swedish captain Nilla Fischer opened the scoring in the 17th minute after the ball bounced off her shoulder following a corner kick, but France rallied with a header by Georges in the 29th and a close-range shot by Renard in the 39th.
France, making its Olympic debut, at least equals its best campaign in a major women’s tournament. It also reached the semifinals of last year’s World Cup. It will play Brazil or World Cup champion Japan in the Olympic semifinals.
“We showed today how dangerous our defenders can be on set pieces, this team is not only about our attackers,” Georges said. “We were able to score even against big and strong defenders like the Swedes have.”
France coach Bruno Bini said he couldn’t have asked for more from his defenders.
“We played a creative match. It was perfect,” he said. “At corners, we scared the Swedish defense, with Wendie and Laura really strong there. We didn’t buckle against a really strong team.”
Sweden also made it to the semifinals of last year’s World Cup and beat France 2-1 in the third-place match.
“It feels empty,” Swedish defender Annica Svensson said. “We played a good game and I don’t think that France played a better game than us. That feels kind of disappointing.”
Fischer nearly scored her second goal to even the match in the 72nd, but French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi made an incredible point-blank save to keep France ahead. Bouhaddi dived to her right and barely tipped Fischer’s close-range shot wide.
France came into the match at Hampden Park with the tournament’s best attack, with eight goals scored, tied with the two-time defending champion United States.
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France reaches women's Olympic soccer semifinals
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