Sweden and Britain qualified for the Olympic women’s football tournament quarter-finals following second successive wins in their respective groups here on Saturday, which also saw two thrilling draws.

After overpowering gold medal hopeful USA in the opening match, Sweden continued their strong run in the group by defeating Australia.

Australia took 2-1 lead in the match but soon the Swedes made it 3-2 in their favour. The Aussies got a chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty. But Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl saved the penalty before her team extended the lead 4-2, locking a spot in the next round.

In another match, USA rebounded from their previous loss by crushing New Zealand 6-1, Xinhua reports.

In Group E, the goal by British forward Ellen White set apart her team and host Japan and secured an early qualification with two wins. Canada topped Chile 2-1 to rest in second place in the group.

In Group F, China and Zambia scored a 4-4 draw following a goal fest, with Chinese player Wang Shuang scoring all four goals for her team and Zambia’s Barbra Banda bagging a hat-trick for the second match in a row.

Both teams ended with one point after two matches with China taking 3rd place in the group due to better goal difference.

After scoring six goals in two matches, Zambian captain Banda tied the record for most goals by a woman in Olympic football since the inaugural event at Atlanta 1996. Forward Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands soon joined the ranks after adding brace to her previous four goals in another high-scoring draw which saw her team draw 3-3 with Brazil.

–IANS

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