Sports Mole brings you live text coverage from women's medal matches in the Olympic football competition.
By Joe Fish, Reporter Filed: Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 12:45 UK
Last Updated: Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 22:01 UK
Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the final day of the women's Olympic football tournament.
Today's climax sees both medal matches take place, with the United States and Japan fighting for gold at Wembley in our 7.45pm kickoff.
The Americans came into the tournament as favourites to defend their 2008 title, but face a tough final against the current world champions.
Having been defeated at the semi-final stage, Canada and France meet in the third-place playoff to decide who picks up the bronze medal.
That match begins at 1.00pm, and it is at the City of Coventry Stadium where we will be starting our live commentary.
10.00pmThat is it from me for today. Be sure to join Sports Mole tomorrow night where the first of the men's medals will be decided. Japan face South Korea in the bronze medal match, and we'll be here to bring you live coverage from the Millennium Stadium. See you then!
9.55pmWambach and Morgan were a constant danger up-front, Hope Solo was a consistent figure in goal and Carli Lloyd was arguably the player of the tournament. They won every one of their matches during the tournament AND scored the most goals. You can't argue with those stats.
9.52pmSo, the women's tournament is over. America have been crowned champions, and on the basis of their performances during the tournament, it is hard to argue that it is an undeserved victory...
9.50pmFULL-TIME: Japan 1-2 United States A great finish to what has been a thrilling women's competition, with America narrowly prevailing over Japan and exacting some revenge for their World Cup final defeat of last year. Japan will feel hard done by. On the whole, they were the better side, striking the woodwork twice and twice more being denied by an inspired Hope Solo. While the American stopper was largely keeping Japan out, Carli Lloyd was inflicting the damage at the other end as she scored in each half to earn the US a third gold medal in four tournaments.
9.45pmFULL-TIME: Japan 1-2 United States GOD BLESS CARLI LLOYD, GOD BLESS HOPE SOLO, AND GOD BLESS AMERICA! The United States are Olympic champions!
9.35pmSo the US are gold medalists once again! Read Sports Mole's report on the thrilling match here.
9.33pmFULL-TIME: Japan 1-2 United States - United States are the Olympic champions!
9.32pmForty seconds left on the clock as Japan regain possession courtesy of a Carli Lloyd foul. No room for possession football now...this will be lumped forward.
9.31pmWe are now entering two minutes of stoppage time...
9.29pmGolden chance for Wambach! Lloyd's corner is drilled across the box and Wambach attacks the ball well, only to head it over from inside eight yards. That would have been game over.
9.27pmLast throw of the dice for Japan. The tricky Shinobu Ohno is replaced by Karina Maruyama.
9.26pmAt the other end, Wambach attempts to put the result beyond doubt but she can't direct her header towards Fukumoto's goal. Five in five for the US striker in this tournament.
9.25pmSuperb save from Solo! Solo again ensures that America maintain their slim advantage with a great reaction stop from Mana Iwabuchi's strike.
9.23pmOr extend it...It has been Carli Lloyd's night thus far and she nearly completes her hat-trick with a superb left-footed shot that grazes Fukumoto's far post.
9.22pmThe US have just ten minutes left to hang on to this one-goal cushion...
9.20pmThe Wembley tannoy man has just announced tonight's 82,000 attendance, which is a record for a women's Olympic football match AND any women's match played on European ground. London 2012 continues to break records...
9.17pmChange for Japan, and it is an attacking one as left back Aya Sameshima makes way for young forward Mana Iwabuchi.
9.14pmScramble in the American box as Miyama's set piece delivery causes chaos. Solo crashes into Wambach as both attempt to clear, but Ogimi cannot pounce as she is outnumbered by several American defenders. They eventually clear after a small game of pinball in the six yard box.
9.12pmExcellent clearing header from Wambach, who nods the ball behind under pressure from Ogimi.
9.10pmLauren Cheney, who has replaced Megan Rapinoe in the US midfield, sends a free kick into the box but Fukumoto is on hand to save Rachel Buehler's header.
9.07pmAya Miyama's attempt from the edge of the area is off target, but Japan are pushing for an equalising goal now...
9.04pmGOAL! Japan 1-2 United States I was just about to comment on how positively Japan had responded, but Yuku Ogimi has said that for me with her 63rd-minute goal, which has halved the two-goal deficit. It's a lovely move from Japan as Ohno gets in behind the defence and squares for Homare Sawa, whose effort is cleared off the line by Rampone. Neither her or Kelley O'Hara can completely clear the danger however and Sawa's second strike on goal is diverted into the net by Ogimi at the back post. Game well and truly on.
8.57pmAgainst the run of play it may have been, but it was a superb goal from Lloyd, who has taken her nation a step closer to Olympic glory.
8.55pmGOAL! Japan 0-2 United States America net their second and again it's Carli Lloyd. This time, rather than a team goal, this one is all about the US midfielder as she picks the ball up on the halfway line before running with it, beating two Japanese defenders and shooting powerfully past Fukumoto from 20 yards.
8.40pmHALF-TIME: Well the US are just 45 minutes away from defending their Olympic title, but it could be a long 45 minutes based on how the first half finished. While the US started the stronger, and opened the scoring courtesy of Carli Lloyd's header, Japan have since dominated with their patient possession play. But they've not just kept the ball well, they've bombarded the American goal, hitting the post and forcing US stopper Hope Solo into a pair of wonderful saves. Like I promised, it's been an entertaining first period at Wembley, and the second should be even better...
8.34pmRead Sports Mole's half-time report on the gold medal contest here.
8.30pmWe are entering stoppage time at Wembley, of which there will be one minute...
8.29pmTwo efforts from the US as this first half winds down. Shannon Box's long-range strike flies over the crossbar, while Tobin Heath tested Fukumoto with a low shot from the edge of the box.
8.25pmWasteful from Le Peilbet, whose final ball goes way over the five American bodies in the box and straight out for a goal kick.
8.23pmSo close for Japan again! Lovely link-up play as Ogimi lays off Ohno to bend a shot at goal. This time, Solo appears beaten but the strike goes inches wide of the post.
8.20pmI hate to say 'I told you so', well in this case, I don't really mind saying it... Solo has been a key performer thus far, maintaining the US advantage with two fantastic saves.
8.17pmBrilliant save from Solo! Superb feet from Ohno again, who somehow manages to evade the challenges of both Rampone and Amy Le Peilbet in the box before squaring for Miyama, whose effort seems bound for the top corner before Solo stretches out a strong hand.
8.14pmOff the woodwork! Japan defender Azusa Iwashimizu heads the ball against her own post! Heath's cross into the box is an inviting one, but it was Iwashimizu rather than the attacker Morgan who took up the invitation as her attempted clearance smashed against the woodwork.
8.12pmPenalty shout for Japan! Nothing of note comes from the free kick as Tobin Heath appears to block the cross into the box fairly. Replays suggest that Heath in-fact used her hand to prevent the ball entering the danger area, but there was no real appeal from the Japanese. Lucky escape for Heath and the US.
8.10pmFree kick in a promising position for Japan after Shinobu Ohno shows fantastic feet to squeeze between Rapinoe and Amy Le Peilbet before forcing the foul.
8.08pmA clash of styles here. While the US want to attack with intent and pace, Japan are content to keep the ball and wait for an opening. Despite what the scoreline may suggest, the latter philosophy is on top at the moment.
8.06pmA great response from Japan after the US dominated the opening fifteen minutes.
8.04pmJapan hit the crossbar! So close again from Japan, with Solo again on hand to deny them an equaliser. Kawasumi's cross from deep is beautifully enticing for Ogimi to head goalwards. She connects cleanly but Solo leaps to tip the effort onto the crossbar.
8.01pmCleared off the line! Brilliant defending from Christie Rampone as she prevents Nahomi Kawasumi from levelling the scores. Link-up play from Ogimi and Miyama ends with a through pass to Kawasumi, whose side-footed effort beat Solo but not a scrambling Rampone on the line. The danger isn't quite cleared yet though as Solo responds quickly to foil Ogimi's rebound strike.
7.58pmWambach, who was waiting at the back post to convert Morgan's cross had Lloyd not beat her to it, makes a fine run in between the Japanese centre halves but Morgan's pass is a little heavy and Fukumoto can collect.
7.55pmGOAL! Japan 0-1 United States It is an early advantage for the US, with Carli Lloyd heading home after a fine US move. Tobin Heath runs down the left before playing the ball to the feet of Morgan in the area. Her first touch appears heavy so instead of shooting at goal, she stands a lovely cross up to the back post for an onrushing Lloyd to head in from six yards.
7.51pmBig call from the referee! America break with Lloyd, who attempts to slide in Morgan. The pacey forward seems to have the better of Kumagai, but the two collide as Morgan tries to latch onto the pass. The US appeal for a foul, and what may have been a red card, but the referee is motionless. I'd say the official got that one spot on.
7.48pmEarly chance for the US as Saki Kumagai slips on the ball as allows Alex Morgan in on goal. She shoots with her weaker left foot from a tight angle and Fukumoto gathers comfortably. A sighter for Morgan.
7.45pmAnyway, that's all the build-up. Now to the live action. We are underway at Wembley Stadium, where the gold medal winner will be crowned in around two hours time.
7.42pmAya Miyama will captain Japan from midfield, while striker Yuki Ogimi has netted twice in London, including a fine individual goal in the impressive quarter-final win over Brazil.
7.40pmHowever, even Solo cannot claim to have enjoyed as successful a tournament as Japan stopper Miho Fukumoto. She can boast the tightest defensive record in the competition and has been central to Japan's strong performances throughout the tournament.
7.38pmI've already mentioned the American trio of Wambach, Morgan and Rapinoe. Also look out for Carli Lloyd, who will look to dictate the pace of the game from the US midfield. On top of that, they possess one of the world's best goalkeepers in Hope Solo.
7.36pmLet's take a look at some of the key players that will be on show tonight...
7.34pmLikewise, Japan have the objective of adding an Olympic title to their World Cup triumph. Victory here tonight would establish their recent domination of women's football and perhaps suggest a shift of power away from the Americans.
7.31pmRemember of course that the United States are defending champions, so that will act as extra motivation as they attempt to defend their Beijing title.
7.28pmHaving said that, the match against their fierce rivals would have taken a lot out of the Americans. It was 120 minutes of fast-paced, end-to-end action, so should tonight's match follow a similar pattern, Japan may have the physical advantage over a tired US side.
7.25pmIf I were to give the advantage to one nation though, it would be the United States. They pose such an attacking threat in the shape of forward pair Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, while winger Megan Rapinoe netted twice in their dramatic semi-final win over Canada.
7.22pmThis contest is a rematch from the 2011 Fifa World Cup final, where Japan were victors on a penalty shootout. These two nations are so evenly matched that this one could also go the distance...
7.19pmNot that the third-place playoff was a disappointing match - it certainly wasn't a disappointing finish - but I am really looking forward to this one. Should be a thriller, with the two best teams in women's football going head to head.
3.15pmThat's all from me for now, but fear not, I'll be back at around 7.30pm to bring you build-up and live commentary from the gold medal match between Japan and the United States! Be sure to return then and join Sports Mole for our coverage from Wembley!
3.10pmSo, heartbreak for France in their first Olympic tournament, but elation for Canada, who claim there 10th bronze medal of the Games.
3.08pmRead Sports Mole's full-time report on the contest here.
3.05pmFULL-TIME: Canada 1-0 France Canada will argue that it is justice following their equally dramatic semi-final loss to the United States, while France will argue that it is daylight robbery. I'm inclined to side with the French on this one.
3.00pmFULL-TIME: Canada 1-0 France If ever there is an example of one side taking their chances and the other not, then it is this game. France have battered Canada for a good hour, striking the woodwork twice, having an effort cleared off the line and going close on several more occasions. However, France felt the full force of football'c cruelty as the Canadian's stole the bronze medal couresty of a 92nd-minute Matheson goal.
2.48pmGOAL! Canada 1-0 France Oh how football can be so cruel. It has been all France this second half but Canada have nicked it here with a Diana Matheson goal two minutes into added time. Sinclair, who had been almost non-existent for 90 minutes, leads a counter attack down the left before squaring to Matheson. She plays in Sophie Schmidt, who turns and shoots at goal. Bouhaddi makes the save but Matheson reacts quickly enough to convert the rebound into an empty net and steal Canada a bronze medal.
2.46pmSo close from Le Sommer! Superb cross from Necib and Le Sommer meets it with a near-post header that goes inches wide of McLeod's net.
2.44pmFrustration is setting in for France. Neither they, nor I, can figure out how they aren't ahead in the match. Bussalglia is the latest to try her luck, but logic suggests that if you can't score from 12 yards, you probably can't score from 30. Logic prevails in this case.
2.42pmIndirect free kick awarded to France in the box, but rather than try and blast the set piece through a crowded penalty area, Thiney lays it back to Le Sommer to fire over the crossbar.
2.40pmMarie-Eve Nault will be relieved as her torrid afternoon is brought to a premature end. The left back was not able to cope against an Elodie Thomis in excellent form, but her misery is ended as Candace Chapman replaces her with just five minutes left on the clock.
2.37pmAnother headed effort at goal, but this time it is Abily who is off target as she catches Bompastor's cross heavily at the near-post.
2.35pmAbily's inviting ball into the area is flicked goalwards by Le Sommer, but McLeod gathers the ball comfortably.
2.33pmSecond change for Canada as Brittany Timko comes on for Melissa Tancredi. A sign of France's dominance is that the usually prolific striker didn't have a sniff at goal.
2.30pmJust fifteen minutes left for France to turn this constant pressure into a goal and potentially a bronze medal...
2.27pmOff the line! From the resulting Necib corner, Renard causes chaos by climbing to win a knock down for Corine Franco to strike. The powerful shot has McLeod beaten by Desiree Scott does brilliantly to clear the ball off the line with her knee. Canada are hanging on by a thread.
2.26pmMore France pressure as a deep cross from Thiney is headed behind by Wilkinson for a corner.
2.22pmWhat a chance for Le Sommer! France are attacking from both sides now as Thiney shows fantastic feet to evade two Canadian challenges down the left before advancing into the box. She squares it for Le Sommer, but the substitute cannot add to her semi-final goal as she blasts over from close range. All France now.
2.20pmOff the post, again! Twice in two minutes France hit the woodwork. This time it is Thomis, who has previously acted as chief creator, who has the effort on goal. Le Sommer defies her diminutive height to win the flick on and Thomis latches onto it, only to strike the bar with her dipping shot.
2.18pmFrance hit the post! More great play from Thomis down the right. Yet again the winger beats her full back before cutting the ball back for Thiney to strike the post. Canada need to cut off the supply to Thomis because she will eventually punish them.
2.16pmHere she comes. Le Sommer is on for Marie-Laure Delie, who was largely ineffective.
2.12pmCanada react with a change of their own as Jonelle Filigno comes off to be replaced by Kailyn Kyle. That will be a change of system for the Canadians, switching to 4-4-2 with Kyle bulking up the midfield.
2.10pmFrance do make a change, and it is experienced captain Soubeyrand who makes way for Camile Abily. No Le Sommer as yet then...
2.08pmSinclair's cross aimed towards Filigno is blocked for a throw-in by Renard. The France centre back has been very solid so far, but is always suspect to an error.
2.05pmGood save from McLeod! France, and Thomis have picked up where they left off in this second period. The winger gets to the right byline before pulling the ball back to Necib, who aims for the far corner with a first-time effort. Wilkinson gets her body in-front of the shot, but wrong-foots McLeod, who has to scamper across her goal to push the ball away.
2.03pmI wonder how long France boss Bruno Bini will wait until he introduces Eugenie Le Sommer. The striker really made a difference as a second-half substitute against Japan...
2.02pmThe action has resumed at the City of Coventry Stadium...
2.00pmHALF-TIME: Canada 0-0 France This game hasn't really started yet, but in fairness, it was always going to be difficult for it to match the excitement of the semi-finals. Both sides, Canada in particular, seem to be struggling with the pressure of playing for a medal, with their usually potent attack not posing a threat during the opening 45 minutes. France got better as the half went on, with Elodie Thomis again proving to be the focal point of their offence. Her pace is causing real problems for the Canada defence, but there has been no end product from the winger as yet. Hopefully this second-half will be much improved.
1.46pmThomis has what will likely be the final effort of the opening period, but cannot give France a first-half lead as she shoots well over the crossbar. A pass to teammate Delie may have been the better option.
1.45pmWe are entering first-half injury time, of which there will be just one minute...
1.42pmExcellent sliding interception from Nault to prevent Thiney's through pass getting through to Thomis, who is enjoying a lot of success hogging that right touchline.
1.39pmGreat punch from McLeod to take the ball of the head of Renard, who was attacking Soubeyrand's corner with real intent.
1.36pmSigns that Sinclair hasn't quite found her feet in this match yet as she over-hits a cross with both Tancredi and Filigno occupying good positions in the box.
1.33pmThomis, who has been the standout player thus far, again gets in behind Nault but this time her low cross is intercepted and cleared to safety by Diana Matheson.
1.31pmHalf-an-hour into this game we are still goalless. France are beginning to create a little more in the final third, but Canada have been lacking in attack with both Sinclair and Tancredi struggling to influence the game.
1.29pmOuch! Louisa Necib charges down a McLeod clearance and earns a ball in her face for her troubles. That one will sting.
1.27pmChance for France! The best chance of the game immediately comes at the other end as Thomis latches onto Delie's flick on only to be denied be a smart near-post save from McLeod.
1.25pmLucky escape for France! Sinclair leads a Canada counter attack, but is delayed by Sonia Bompastor and rather than run at goal, opts to cross towards Tancredi. Bouhaddi chooses to come and collect the ball, but trips over teammate Georges, leaving her goal completely vacant. Fortunately for the France stopper, Tancredi can only send her headed effort wide.
1.23pmHaving said that, so has Bouhaddi in the France net. Neither team have been at their best so far, perhaps deflated from their semi-final losses.
1.21pmSome acrobatics from Thomis as she attempts an audacious overhead from Delie's cross, but the effort doesn't trouble McLeod, who has largely been untested thus far.
1.16pmEvidence of Elodie Thomis's pace as she beats Marie-Eve Nault on the France right before crossing for Sandrine Soubeyrand, who completely miscues her effort off target.
1.14pmBrilliant effort from Sinclair! It's the first time the Canada skipper has been on the ball in a dangerous area as she collects the ball from Filigno on the half turn and strikes it first time on the volley. The effort goes narrowly over the crossbar, but superb technique from Sinclair.
1.12pmLovely through ball from Thiney, but Elise Bussaglia, who missed a penalty in the semi-final loss to Japan, cannot collect and the ball goes through to Canada keeper McLeod.
1.09pmLouisa Necib registers France's first shot, but it is blocked by a charging Rhian Wilkinson.
1.06pmRenard makes amends with an excellent clearing header from the resultant corner.
1.04pmOooo that was wild! Wendie Renard's attempted back pass is thumped closer to the corner flag and goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi cannot prevent it from going behind.
1.02pmI'm surprised Le Sommer wasn't awarded with a start today. She really troubled Japan when she was introduced on Monday - scoring and earning a penalty, while captain Thiney has not produced her best form this tournament.
1.00pmBut enough from me, it is up to the players to do the talking now. The action is underway in the West Midlands...
12.58pmWingers Elodie Thomis and Marie-Laure Delie join Gaetane Thiney in a three-pronged attack, while striker Eugenie Le Sommer has proved a dangerous substitute and very nearly inspired a second-half comeback against Japan in the last four.
12.56pmWhile France have had defensive problems throughout the tournament, they too pose an attacking threat.
12.53pmWhile her strike partner Melissa Tancredi will also prove a threat to the fragile French defence. She netted in each of Canada's pool stage matches.
12.50pmCanada's captain Christine Sinclair is the tournament's top scorer and netted a hat-trick in their agonizing semi-final defeat to the US. She'll be the one to watch for Canada.
12.47pmThe team news is in for today's Canada vs. France curtain raiser. Read it here.