Women's Football: Sports Mole's Team of the Olympics

Women's Football: Sports Mole's Team of the Olympics
© PA Photos
Sports Mole picks its Team of the Tournament from the women's Olympic football, where US came away with the gold medal.

The United States completed the successful defence of their women's Olympic football title with a 2-1 win over Japan in the gold medal match at Wembley on Thursday.

While Japan were forced to settle for silver, Canada made the most of their second chance by beating France in the third-place playoff to claim bronze.

With the medals having been decided, Sports Mole picks its best XI from throughout the course of the tournament.

Goalkeeper

Miho Fukumoto - Japan

Japan's progression to the final was in no small part down to their defensive record. They did not concede at all during the group stages, and had only let in two before their defeat to the US, with Fukumoto an ever-present model of consistency in the Japanese net. An honourable mention to US stopper Hope Solo, who was superb in their final victory over the world champions.

Defenders

Steph Houghton - Team GB

Goalscoring full-backs are a rare breed, but Houghton netted three times for Hope Powell's side as they reached the quarter-finals, including the tournament's opening goal against New Zealand. As solid in defence as she was prolific in attack, Houghton was one of Team GB's best performers.

Saki Kumagai - Japan

Along with Fukumoto, Kumagai was a key component in the stubborn Japanese defensive unit. Organised, strong and good in the air, she starred throughout and kept potent US strike pair Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach pretty quiet in Japan's unfortunate gold medal match defeat.

Casey Stoney - Team GB

The hosts only conceded two goals in their four matches and captain Stoney was largely responsible for that impressive record.

Kelley O'Hara - United States

After the American's nightmare first 10 minutes in their group opener against France, the US kept three three consecutive clean sheets and the left-back played a key role in that. She was also happy to bomb forward down the wing and proved to be an extra attacking threat, as if the champions needed one.

Midfielders

Elodie Thomis - France

As Alan Hansen might say - 'she's fast, she's quick and she's got pace'. Thomis resembled Roadrunner down the French right and caused problems for the tournament's best defenders. Her final ball wasn't always there, but she created a large proportion of the French chances on top of scoring two herself.

Carli Lloyd - United States

My player of the tournament. Gave the Americans some steel in the middle of the park and allowed the wingers to attack with real freedom. Not only that, she was economic on the ball, dictating the pace of the match from the US midfield. Lloyd also scored two excellent goals in the final to help her nation defend their title.

Louisa Necib - France

Has been tagged as 'the women's Zinedine Zidane', and while she isn't quite in the same league as 'Zizou', I can see why the comparison has been made. Creative on the ball and with an eye for goal, Necib was probably the pick of France's attacking midfield trio.

Megan Rapinoe - United States

Her consistent and workmanlike performances largely went under the radar until the semi-final against Canada, where she scored two memorable goals, one of which came straight from a corner. Her crosses and free kick deliveries were always dangerous as the US caused a heap of problems from set pieces.

Forwards

Christine Sinclair - Canada

You have to count yourself a little unfortunate if you score a hat-trick and end up on the losing side. That was the case for Christine Sinclair in Canada's last-four defeat to fierce rivals America, but that will only be a small blot on what was a fantastic tournament for the Canada skipper. She topped the scoring charts with six goals and picked up a deserved medal as her nation pipped France in the bronze medal match.

Alex Morgan - United States

Her strike partner Abby Wambach may have netted five times compared to Morgan's three, but the pacey forward was a constant danger to the opposition. As well as her goals, Morgan contributed several assists and was perhaps involved in the moment of the tournament when she headed the US a dramatic 122nd-minute winner in their thrilling triumph over Canada.

Olympic Torch
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