Manchester City Women striker Ellen White hit a hat-trick for Team GB at the Olympics, but it wasn’t enough to keep the girls in Japan as Chelsea’s Sam Kerr led Australia to victory. City’s Caroline Weir also missed an extra-time penalty and Great Britain also hit the post twice as they threatened to overrun the Aussies.
City featured heavily in the starting line-up, with 8 blues featuring at the Kashima Stadium. And it was one of the blues in the form of Keira Walsh, who had the first real chance of the game in the 15th minute, when her 30 yard effort cannoned off the post with the keeper well beaten.
Lauren Hemp had a chance to give GB the lead in the 23rd minute but her shot was saved by the keeper. Rachel Daly’s cross came back off the woodwork and Hemp controlled the rebound, which was turned behind for a corner.
Australia took the lead 10 minutes before half time as Alanna Kennedy was allowed space to head a corner past the despairing dive of Ellie Roebuck to put the Aussie’s in the driving seat.
But the City connection came through for GB ten minutes into the second half as Hemp crossed and White directed her header over the keeper to draw GB level. It was White’s fourth goal of the Olympics, having score all but one of GB’s goals so far and more was to come.
Three minutes later and Steph Houghton almost gave Australia the lead, deflecting a cross onto her own bar, but White struck again 7 minutes later to put GB on the brink of a semi-final appearance.
Poor defending from Australia saw the ball fall to White, and the City striker curled the ball into the far corner, with the keeper getting a slight hand to it. That should have been enough for GB, but fate would strike a cruel blow.
Chelsea midfielder Kerr was allowed time and space in the GB area, and with the defenders backing off, Kerr rifled her shot home in the 88th minute to send the match to extra time. Walsh had another powerful shot tipped over by the keeper and GB had a glorious chance to re-take the lead in the 100th minute when Nikita Parris was brought down inside the area.
City’s Caroline Weir stepped up to take the penalty, but saw her spot-kick saved by the brilliant Micah in the Australian goal.
And Weir’s heartache would be exacerbated two minutes later as Mary Fowler’s deflected shot went over Roebuck and into the goal. Again, the defence allowed Australia the time to take the shot and the deflection deceived Roebuck as the ball flew into the top corner.
And Kerr made the game all but safe on 105 minutes, when she beat Houghton to the ball and her header bounced off the bar and into the goal to make it 4-2.
White gave some glimmer of hope when she bagged her sixth goal of the Olympics and third of the match. Fran Kirby’s cross was met by the had of White, and the ball looped over Micah to pull it back to 4-3.
Sadly for Team GB, the couldn’t force another goal to send the tie to penalties as the crashed out at the quarter final stage.
Final Score: GB 3-4 Australia