Sports Mole brings you live text coverage from women's semi-final day in the Olympic football competition.
By Joe Fish, Reporter Filed: Monday, August 6, 2012 at 16:45 UK
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 08:23 UK
Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of women's semi-final day in the Olympic football competition.
After a promising group stage campaign, Team GB could not reach the last four as they bowed out at the hands of Canada at the City of Coventry Stadium on Friday.
That result set up an all North America semi-final clash with the United States, which is the 7.45pm instalment of today's action.
However, we'll be starting our commentary at Wembley Stadium, where world champions Japan take on dark horses France in an intriguing contest.
At this stage in the competition, all four nations know that they will compete for a medal at some point. Whether it is gold or bronze will depend on today's results.
10.45pmRight, that's it from me on an extraordinary night of Olympic football. Be sure to join Sports Mole tomorrow for live coverage of the men's semi-finals. If they are as exciting as the women's, then we are all in for a treat! Thanks for joining us today! Over and out...
10.43pmWell, the US will advance to play Japan for the gold medal, in what is a repeat of the World Cup final of last year. Canada meanwhile will be hoping to pick themselves up to pip France to the bronze on Thursday of this week.
10.42pmSo, where does this leave the women's competition?
10.40pmFULL-TIME:...And if that wasn't enough, there was an additional half-an-hour to play as the tie went into extra time. Rather than the skill and ability that had dominated normal time, this was a display of stamina and desire, and that one moment of magic that I suggested might win the game. Alex Morgan was that the hero able to conjure that magic as she headed the US into the final with 122 minutes on the clock. Cheers for America, but tears for Canada on what was the undoubted footballing highlight of London 2012 thus far...
10.30pmFULL-TIME: Warning. This paragraph may contain several footballing clich�s. As good a game as you'll see on any stage, neither team really deserved to lose. America, the hot favourites and defending champions, fell behind on three occasions, but each time were able to muster a response. During a ten minute spell in the second period, the two fierce rivals exchanged two goals each, and some of them were pretty spectacular goals too. Penalties, wonder goals, hat-tricks, the first ninety minutes had it all...
10.21pmI'm going to need a minute before I can put my thoughts on this amazing match into words. In the meantime, read Sports Mole's report on the pulsating contest here.
10.16pmGOAL! Canada 3-4 United States Incredible scenes two minutes into added time, in extra time at Old Trafford. Alex Morgan is the American hero as she rises above Moscato to head home in Abby Wambach style from Heather O'Reilly's cross. Elation for the US, despair for Canada, drama for us neutrals. Absolutely unbelievable. WOW, WOW, WOW.
10.14pmAdditional time in additional time. Are you following?
10.12pmOff the crossbar! Unbelievable finish to this match. This time it is the woodwork rather than a Canadian defender that denies Wambach as she climbs above Moscato and heads past McLeod, only to be kept out by the crossbar.
10.10pmBrilliant from Morgan as she runs into the box, skipping the challenge of a couple of Canadian defenders in the process. Her cut back is set up beautifully for Wambach to strike goalwards but Sesselmann intercepts with Wambach poised to shoot.
10.08pmHorrible collision between Scott and O'Reilly, with the former coming off much the worse. Immediate fears are calmed as the defender limps back into action, very gingerly.
10.07pmOptimistic penalty shout from the US after Morgan is pushed in the box. I think they should start preparing for a longer penalty stint rather than calling ambitiously for spot kicks in that fashion...
10.05pmSchmidt takes a knock from Wambach and is now off the field for treatment. Canada are temporarily a player down...
10.03pmThe US have a corner. Rapinoe is over it, with Wambach the target...
10.00pmSome players have more left in their legs than others. Canada's Sophie Schmidt can barely stand after her efforts during normal time, while left back Kelley O'Hara is driving the US forward.
9.58pmThe players get about a minute's breather before the referee signals for the action to resume... Canada get us back underway...
9.56pmLucky break for Canada as McLeod flaps at an American free kick from deep but is awarded a foul before a US attacker can capitalise.
9.54pmGreat challenge from Buehler as she prevents Sinclair directing Diana Matheson's cross goalwards. Such an important tackle as the Canadian skipper would have tested Hope Solo from there based on tonight's form...
9.52pmA change for both sides as Heather O'Reilly replaces Lauren Cheney for the US, while Chelsea Stewart is introduced at the expense of Marie-Eve Nault for the Canadians. Midfielder for midfielder in both cases...
9.50pmWe've passed the 100 minute mark, and Wambach marks this milestone with a headed effort which forces a decent save from McLeod. The ball looked to be drifting wide of the post in any case...
9.48pmOver the bar from Leroux! O'Hara runs at Wilkinson down the left and beats her adversary before cutting the ball back. Leroux can only strike high under heavy pressure from Carmelina Moscato.
9.45pmFirst attempt of extra time is a Canada one, but Tancredi's acrobatic effort is held safely by Hope Solo.
9.42pmI don't think we can expect the next 30 minutes to be as entertaining and dramatic as the last. This extra time will be all about endurance, passion, and perhaps that one bit of magic, which we've already seen plenty of tonight...
9.38pmEND OF 90 MINUTES: Canada 3-3 United States I'm so breathless that I didn't even have time to give you a 90 minute summary before the players reemerged for the first period of extra time, which has just begun...
9.34pmCorner for the US with the clock winding down. This will be the last action of the ninety minutes...
9.32pmWe are entering additional time now, of which there will be three minutes...
9.30pmChance for Canada now! Mistake from Buelher presents Schmidt with a brilliant chance to win the game for her country, but Hope Solo denies her with a smart save at the near post.
9.28pmMorgan thinks she is in on goal following Lloyd's through pass, but McLeod foils the striker before she can get a shot away.
9.25pmWhat a chance for Wambach! Both sides are really going for it here in what has been a wonderfully entertaining half of football. The US hit Canada on the break and when Morgan skips past Wilkinson in the area and squares for Wambach, the defending champions are staring at a 4-3 lead. However, the scorer of America's penalty kick cannot direct her effort back into a vacant net.
9.21pmGOAL! Canada 3-3 United StatesWambach inevitably converts the spot kick with a cool finish into the bottom left corner. What a dramatic 10-minute spell of football. Premier League-esque!
9.18pmPenalty to the US! Give me time to breathe please! Marie-Eve Nault is adjudged to have handled as she attempts to block a Rapinoe free kick. Her hands are not outstretched, she only appears to be protecting her face. Harsh, harsh call from the referee.
9.14pmGOAL! Canada 3-2 United States Unbelievable scenes as Canada regain the lead for the second time in four minutes and yet again it is Sinclair who is the goalscorer as she eclipses her previous header with a superb effort into the top corner. Against your fiercest rivals, in an Olympic semi-final. What a time to score a hat-trick.
9.12pmGOAL! Canada 2-2 United States Rapinoe has been the outstanding player today and she immediately brings the US level with a wonder strike. After conceding, the American's go straight back on the attack as Lloyd switches the play to Rapinoe. She shifts it onto her right foot and unleashes a powerful 25-yard shot that crashes in off the post. What a brace of goals from the winger!
9.10pmGOAL! Canada 2-1 United States Incredible. They've been on the back foot for the last half-an-hour but Canada have regained their advantage. Substitute Kyle is involved immediately as she exchanges passes with Tancredi before the latter crosses for Sinclair to power home with her head. Solo had no chance - fine goal.
9.08pmCanada are the first to turn to their bench as Kaylyn Kyle replaces Jonelle Filigno.
9.06pmThe yellow cards may come thick and fast after Scott became the first player into the book moments ago. Challenges are gradually becoming more robust as the stakes get higher and higher...
9.03pmThis is like a training exercise - get the ball wide and cross it into the box, but Canada are holding on.
8.59pmYellow card for Desiree Scott for persistent offences. The defender has not been far away from Wambach all afternoon and on this occasion, she gets too close and is penalised for a tug on the tall striker.
8.55pmGOAL! Canada 1-1 United States The US pressure has paid dividends as they level terms ten minutes into the second half, and in bizarre circumstances too! Megan Rapinoe's delivery has been superb all afternoon. This corner isn't one of her best, but the Canadian defender on the near post follows Alex Morgan's run and leaves a gap for the ball to travel straight into the net - direct from the corner. Momentum well and truly with the US now...
8.53pmPenalty shout for the US! Wambach has her arms in the air calling for a penalty after being sandwiched by two Canadian defenders. There was plenty of contact, but rarely do you see penalties given for that type of challenge.
8.51pmMorgan is the focal point of the US attack in the early stages of this half. Again, she peels off to the left and stands a ball up to Wambach, who chests the pass and shoots the dropping ball first time. High, wide and handsome, but promising link-up play for the US.
8.48pmBright restart for the US, as Morgan spins away from Wilkinson, who trips the American on the corner of the area.
8.40pmHALF-TIME: As BBC Sport have just pointed out, Canada don't beat America too often when it comes to women's football. Only three times in 51 meetings have they been victorious over the US, but captain Christine Sinclair has set them on their way to what would be a memorable fourth. They matched the US shot for shot, pass for pass in the opening half-an-hour and deservedly took the lead. There were signs of an American backlash in the latter stages of the period, with forward pairing Wambach and Morgan beginning to cause problems. The defending champions will not go out quietly though, so expect a busy 45 minutes for the Canadian defence.
8.30pmWe are entering first-half stoppage time in Manchester...
8.27pmThe Americans are starting to pressurise the Canadian defence, and are proving a threat down the flanks and especially from set piece deliveries.
8.22pmDeja Vu. This time it is Morgan who turns her full back brilliantly before finding an onrushing Wambach with an inviting cross. The experienced forward dips to head home but sends her effort too far across goal, and it ends wide of the post.
8.21pmWambach climbs and wins another header at the back post, but can't generate enough power to test McLeod.
8.18pmThe US have qualified for every Olympic final since the inaugural tournament at Atlanta 1996. That record is in threat here...
8.15pmInches wide from the US! Fantastic free kick delivery from Rapinoe as Morgan flicks a header goalwards that flies very narrowly past the far post.
8.12pmThat goal will come as a shock to most, apart from the 40,000 people in Old Trafford tonight, who have seen Canada match the US throughout the opening 27 minutes.
8.09pmGOAL! Canada 1-0 United States The Canadians take the lead and it is captain Sinclair who steps up to put her nation ahead against their great rivals. The experienced midfielder combines with Tancredi on the edge of the box, before calmly dodging the challenge of Rapinoe and slotting past Hope Solo. The defending champions are behind...
8.06pmFirst sniff at goal for Canada as Tancredi drills a ball across the box, but American defender Rampone diverts it behind for a corner.
8.05pmMegan Rapinoe shoots wildly with her left foot from 25 yards and the ball ends up well wide of McLeod's net.
8.03pmWambach's first effort of the afternoon is blocked, again by Sesselmann.
8.01pmTobin Heath drills a long ball towards the box with Morgan the intended target. Lauren Sesselmann stretches to just intercept the pass...
7.59pmNo they can't. Sophie Schmidt is given two opportunities to put the ball in the box, but is wasteful on both occasions.
7.57pmCorner at the other end from the Canadians. Can they prove to be of equal threat from set pieces?
7.53pmFirst corner for the US and an immediate sign of Wambach's aerial threat. The American skipper climbs high in the air but can only head wide from Rapinoe's delivery...
7.48pmCarli Lloyd smashes the set piece low into the box, but neither Wambach or Morgan can stretch to direct it goalwards.
7.47pmThis clash between two fierce rivals is going to be feisty from the get-go. Sinclair takes out Morgan from behind and concedes a free kick in a dangerous position.
7.46pmWe are underway at Old Trafford, and it takes just seven seconds for the first foul to be registered as Melissa Tancredi floors Cheney of America.
7.45pmThe aforementioned Wambach and Morgan will undoubtedly provide the US with a potent attacking threat...
7.43pmGoing through the lineups, Christine Sinclair is the star player for Canada, who are unchanged from their victory over the hosts.
7.40pmThe players have emerged out of the famous Old Trafford tunnel, and will now standby for the national anthems...
7.20pmThe kickoff is scheduled for 7.45pm. I'll be back in twenty minutes to bring you live text coverage from Manchester...
7.15pmThe US beat New Zealand 2-0 to reach the last four, while Canada conquered Team GB by the same scoreline.
7.10pmProlific American strike pair Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan continue in attack for the defending champions. Read the full team news here.
7.06pmSo who will Japan face for the gold medal on Thursday - Canada or the United States? Those two old sporting rivals face off at Old Trafford in around forty minutes time.
7.03pmRead Sports Mole's full report on the contest here.
7.00pmFULL-TIME: France 1-2 Japan Wow, that was a riveting last twenty minutes at Wembley! France did everything in their power to force a comeback after falling 2-0 behind on the 50-minute mark. Set-piece orchestrated goals from Ogimi and Sakaguchi had set Japan on their way to the final, but France gave themselves a chance after inspired substitute Le Sommer pulled one back and then earned them a penalty moments later. Stand-in captain Elise Bussaglia sent the spot kick wide, but the French continued to press for what would have been a deserved equaliser. In the end, a combination of inaccurate shooting and a fine goalkeeping display denied them a berth in the gold medal match. Japan meanwhile are one win away from completing a World Cup and Olympic Games double...
6.52pmFULL-TIME: France 1-2 Japan Japan hold on, but France so nearly take the match to extra time as Renard forces as fantastic last-minute save from Fukumoto. She had little to do in the first half, but she's turned out to be the Japan hero.
6.50pmThe four minutes of added time have elapsed, with the final whistle imminent...
6.49pmWe are well into stoppage time now, and Necib tries another effort, but Fukumoto holds. Not been Necib's finest outing during this tournament.
6.48pmTime-wasting tactics from the Japanese as they shield the ball directly from their first corner of the match.
6.46pmJapan hit the post! It has been all France this last half-an-hour, but Japan have just missed the best chance of the period, and a chance that could have assured them of their final spot. Ogimi leads the counter attack, skipping past a couple of tired French challenges before running into the box. She attempts to bend it around Bouhaddi at the near post, but, with the keeper beaten, the ball rebounds back off the post.
6.45pmPenalty shout for France! Thomis's cross is aimed towards Renard, who appears to be dragged down in the box by the Japanese defender. Nothing given though.
6.43pmWith just five minutes left, France have shoved 6ft tall central defender Wendie Renard alongside Le Sommer, Thomis and Delie in attack. The Europeans won't die wondering...
6.41pmFrance are relentless in attack now, but there is no composure behind their final product. Centre half Laura Georges misses the target with a back post header before Camile Abily's ambitious volley goes high and wide without ever endangering Fukumoto's net.
6.39pmAll France here as they go in search of an equaliser. Delie cannot bundle the ball over the line in the midst of a goalmouth scramble, while Corine Franco drags an effort wide.
6.36pmPenalty missed! France waste a golden opportunity to go level as Elise Bussaglia sends the spot kick wide trying to find the bottom corner.
6.34pmPenalty to France! Game most definitely on! Le Sommer has made the difference and here she forces a rash challenge with her direct run into the box. Kumagai is the guilty party for the Japanese.
6.32pmGOAL! France 1-2 Japan And it is the substitute who has scored it! Lovely move from the French as Delie plays in Thomis down the right, who finds Le Sommer with a precise cut back and the second-half replacement volleys it home first time. Game on!
6.30pmDuring the action, France have made a second change with striker Eugenie le Sommer replacing captain Gaetane Thiney.
6.27pmGreat save from Fukumoto! And to be fair, they are giving it a go. Again, Necib is the player with the shot, but this time she does find the target and test Fukumoto. The Japan stopper is up to the challenge however and dives down to to her left to get a strong hand to the strike.
6.25pmLess than 20 minutes remaining for France to launch a comeback...
6.22pmNecib has her third attempt of the afternoon, but this one is also below par as she fails to call Fukumoto into action.
6.19pmCorine Franco's shot from the edge of the box is blocked by charging Japanese defenders.
6.15pmSlight injury scare for Japan as the stretcher is brought on for an injured Ogimi. The stretcher is redundant though as Ogimi limps off, before limping back on slightly less gingerly moments later.
6.12pmFirst France change as Camile Abiliy replaces experienced captain Sandrine Soubeyrand in midfield.
6.08pmDouble effort from Delie! Twice Marie-Laure Delie is denied by Fukumoto - firstly from close range as Japan fail to settle after extending their lead. Then the winger shoots from a tight angle when a cut back to Thomis or Necib in the box may have been the better option. Signs of a France response though perhaps...
6.04pmGOAL! France 0-2 Japan Another set piece and another goal. On this occasion, it is a fine header rather than a goalkeeping blunder as Mizuho Sakaguchi climbs at the back post and heads superbly across goal.
6.02pmAnd Japan go straight on the attack, with Ohno dodging several French challenges before feeding Miyama, but she shoots over the crossbar.
5.57pmWell that was my analysis of the first period! Read out half-time report in full here.
5.54pmHALF-TIME: So far we've seen very little of this supposedly prolific French attack. Elodie Thomis has been somewhat of a threat down the right side, but teammates Necib, Delie and Thiney have been unimpressive and wasteful on the ball. However, the solid reputation of the Japan defence has been upheld during the opening 45 minutes. They look every inch world champions, with Ogimi and Ohno proving a nuisance up front. With Aya Miyama controlling the tempo in midfield, Japan are looking good for a final spot as they enter the break.
5.44pmMarie-Laure Delie has a half chance just before the break as she receives the ball under pressure at the near post. She turns and shoots, but her effort is blocked by Kumagai.
5.40pmA pair of French crosses, one from Sonia Bompastor and the other from Thomis, are headed clear by Japan.
5.37pmThe curse very nearly strikes again! Fukumoto charges out and punches weakly at a Thomis cross, but fortunately for the Japan keeper, Necib cannot react quickly enough to take advantage.
5.35pmFrance have an almost immediate chance to reply, but Gaetane Thiney's shot is child's play for Fukumoto. No such goalkeeping error at the other end.
5.32pmGOAL! France 0-1 Japan Talk about commentator's curse! "I've been very impressed with France stopper Sarah Bouhaddi throughout the competition thus far". Well, I am not so impressed with her effort to claim this free kick as she gifts Japan a 31st-minute lead. Captain Aya Miyama punts the set piece into the box and Bouhaddi comes and fails to collect, leaving Ogimi to bundle the ball home in a crowded box. Howler.
5.30pmSmart turn from Ogimi in the France half to earn a free kick under another late challenge from Renard, who has already been cautioned remember.
5.27pmFirst real sign of the two Japanese forwards linking up. Ohno plays a give-and-go with Ogimi but is surrounded by French defenders upon receiving the return.
5.24pmA second attempt from France and again it is Necib. She finds herself in plenty of space, in between the Japan defence and midfield and opts to pull the trigger early. Fukumoto watches on as the ball sails well wide of the target.
5.20pmAnd it's back. Japan keeping the ball comfortably in defence, but without showing any real attacking intent as yet.
5.15pmThat composed Japanese passing from the opening stages is nowhere to be seen as they give the ball away in their own half. Thomis launches the counter attack, but her long-range shot on her weaker left foot is comfortable for Fukumoto.
5.13pmWendie Renard earns the first yellow card of the game for a clumsy challenge on Ohno. High and late - no complaints there.
5.11pmNecib again has a chance to shoot when Elodie Thomis finds her with a square ball into the box. This time the midfielder tries to take on a couple of Japanese defenders, but is crowded out and the danger is cleared before she can strike at goal.
5.09pmThis contest also pits two fine goalkeepers against each other. Fukumoto is an experienced campaigner in the Japan net, while I've been very impressed with France stopper Sarah Bouhaddi throughout the competition thus far.
5.06pmLouisa Necib registers the first effort on target, but it is an easy save for Miho Fukumoto.
5.04pmVery unspectacular start here, with Japan perhaps settling a tad quicker, passing the ball tidily in midfield.
5.02pmAn interesting match-up on our hands here, with the competition's best defence (Japan) taking on the the joint-best attacking unit in the shape of France.
5.00pmAnd we are underway at the home of English football...
4.57pmIn all seriousness, that's an attendance of around 45,000 people. That's fairly sizable for a women's international fixture.
4.56pmThe players are out to sing their respective national anthems in-front of a half full Wembley Stadium. Of course, that could also be interpreted as half empty, but I'm a positive guy, so half full it is!
4.54pmFrance meanwhile edged out Sweden in the last four, but have experienced defeat already in the competition after losing to the United States in the pools.
4.52pmJapan reached this stage courtesy of an excellent quarter-final win over Brazil, which followed an unbeaten passage through Group F.
4.48pmTeam news is in for the Japan vs. France match, with semi-final goalscorer Shinobu Ohno fit to start for the world champions. Read the full team news here.