Misfiring Kelly Smith is Hope Powell's only concern about Team GB's women's football team

 

After all the excitement of Tuesday's epic victory over Brazil in front of the biggest crowd to watch a women's match in the United Kingdom, the greatest problem facing Hope Powell's Great Britain squad at Coventry tonight would appear to be over-confidence.

In Canada they face a team who failed to get beyond the group stage at the World Cup last year and did so here only as the third-placed team in their section. They came from 2-0 down to draw the final game with Sweden at St James' Park, which was a special day for their English coach John Herdman, a Tynesider who grew up watching Newcastle United from the Gallowgate End.

"I think the girls stepped up," he said of that performance. "They are showing they're moving forward and are ready for the quarter-finals. I thought we started the best I have seen Canada play."

In Melissa Tancredi, who scored both their goals, the Canadians have the tournament's leading scorer. She has been on target in every game, starting with the 2-1 defeat by Japan and then putting her team on the way to their 3-0 win over South Africa. Her closest rival in the charts is Britain's Steph Houghton, Powell's remarkable goalscoring left-back, who is currently being teased by other members of the squad about winning the tournament's Golden Boot.

If there is one concern other than over-confidence it is that no British forward has a goal to her name. Apart from Houghton's winners against New Zealand and Brazil, and her fierce drive against Cameroon, the only other scorers have been the captain Casey Stoney, who poked in a set-piece at the far post, and Everton's Jill Scott, who finished a delightful move against Cameroon by knocking in Kim Little's back-heel.

The official tournament football programme understandably highlighted Kelly Smith as "star player". But in continuing her recovery from injury she has yet to improve on extraordinary career statistics that include 100 goals in 112 games for Arsenal Ladies alone.

For England, she has a century of caps and 45 goals. Her big chance so far in this tournament was the award of a penalty when Britain led 1-0 against Brazil but the goalkeeper made a fine save.

It has been a chequered career for Smith, including self-confessed depression and drink problems, but at the age of 33, 16 years after her international debut, the prospect of an Olympic medal would provide a highlight.

For that to happen, assuming they get past Canada, Britain would probably need either to beat the United States in Monday's semi-final or, if they lost that, win the bronze medal match next week.

At one point in her career in the US, where she played for four clubs, Smith said "Women's football is a joke". Helping Britain to another win tonight in front of a near-capacity crowd will do much to end that assessment.

Having been pushed into second place by Britain, Brazil play Japan, who – a little oddly – opted not to try too hard in their draw against South Africa as they wished to avoid being in the same section of the draw as the favourites, the US. That plan will come unstuck if they do not beat Brazil in Cardiff this evening.

Had Japan won against South Africa and finished top of Group F they would have played France at Hampden Park, a task that now falls to Sweden.

The other match at Newcastle this afternoon has the US as firm favourites to beat New Zealand, who finished third in Britain's group.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum