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White makes the difference
 Women's Football FIFA News - 26 Jul 2021
 
Japan 0 Great Britain 1 (White 73)
Great Britain booked their place in the quarter finals of the Olympic Games with a hard fought victory over the hosts in Sapporo.
 
The result guarantees them a place in the top two in their group and they will finish on top if they avoid defeat in their final match against Canada on Tuesday.
 
Ellen White kept up her superb recent record against Japan with a brilliant piece of opportunism to score the only goal of the game, to add to her double when playing for England against them in the World Cup two years ago, and then grabbing the winner in last year's SheBelieves Cup.
 
Hege Riise made four changes from the opening fixture against Chile with Demi Stokes, Sophie Ingle, Nikita Parris and Leah Williamson coming into the starting line up, whilst Kim Little this time wore the captain's armband.
 
The first half was a largely uneventful one as the two teams cancelled each other out, with few opportunities at either end of the pitch. GB's only real chances came via headers from Lauren Hemp, neither of which found the target.
 
Japan kept possession well but found it difficult to break down the Great Britain defence although they did go close on one occasion when Yuzuho Shiokoshi flashed a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
 
After the break, GB pushed further up the pitch and became more of an attacking force with Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh having efforts blocked, whilst Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris sent shots off target, although once again without truly looking like ending the stalemate.
 
However with seventeen minutes remaining, the breakthrough did come. Little slid a neat pass into the path of Lucy Bronze who floated a cross to the near post, Ayaka Yamashita came out of goal to clear but did not get there, White stealing in to glance a header which took a touch off the top of Saki Kumagai's head and looped into the far corner of the net.
 
Williamson and Hemp were off target with headers but there were few scares for GB at the other end and Ellie Roebuck was largely untroubled as her defence remained solid in front of her. It wasn't the prettiest of games but that will not matter to the Great Britain side who were deserving of the three points.
 
Japan: Ayaka Yamashita, Risa Shimizu, Saki Kumagai, Moeka Minami, Asato Miyagawa, Yuzuho Shiokoshi (sub Nicole Momiki 55mins), Emi Nakajima (sub Mana Iwabuchi 80mins), Honoka Hiyashi (sub Narumi Miura 67mins), Hina Sugita, Yui Hasegawa, Mina Tanaka (sub Jun Endo 67mins). Subs not used: Sakiko Ikeda, Saori Takarada, Yuika Sugasawa.
 
Great Britain: Ellie Roebuck, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh, Steph Houghton, Sophie Ingle (sub Caroline Weir 59mins), Nikita Parris (sub Rachel Daly 76mins), Kim Little (sub Jill Scott 89mins), Ellen White, Leah Williamson, Lauren Hemp (sub Georgia Stanway 88mins). Subs not used: Carly Telford, Millie Bright, Niamh Charles.

 

 
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