Team GB women earn hard-fought draw against Sweden in Olympic football warm-up

 

Substitute Rachel Yankey was denied by the woodwork as Team GB ended
their preparations for the Olympics with a hard-fought draw against
Sweden.

The 33-year-old Arsenal striker came off the bench to hit the post with 20 minutes remaining with the Swedes pressing for victory after being dominated before the break.

Full-back Steph Houghton and striker Kelly Smith had earlier gone close for Hope Powell's side, but home goalkeeper Karen Bardsley had to save from Kosovare Asllani before the break and replacement Rachel Brown was significantly busier after it.

Team GB coach Hope Powell handed Scots Ife Dieke and Kim Little starting berths in her side's final Olympic warm-up game against Sweden.

The pair were joined by nine England internationals, including north-east duo Jill Scott and Steph Houghton, for the contest at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.

Sweden boss Thomas Dennerby included five of the women who lined up for the World Cup semi-final defeat by eventual winners Japan in July last year.

The Swedes enjoyed the greater share of the early possession, but it was Britain who were first to threaten.

Experienced striker Kelly Smith fired a left-foot shot across the face of goal with two minutes played, and strike-partner Ellen White kept keeper Hedvig Lindahl on her toes with a powerfully-struck volley, which flew wide of the far post four minutes later.

Marauding full-back Alex Scott was causing all kinds of problems for the Scandinavians down the right as she repeatedly worked her way into advanced positions, although she could not find the killer ball to make the pressure count.

Lindahl was forced into her first save of the game with 10 minutes played, although she was not unduly troubled by Steph Houghton's curling free-kick from distance.

However, Team GB found themselves under pressure four minutes later when Anita Asante was caught in possession in midfield by Caroline Seger, who slid a pass into the path of striker Sofia Jakobsson, only for skipper Casey Stoney to make a timely intervention.

The home side went close once again with 18 minutes played when Eni Aluko left Annica Svensson for dead down the left and although her cross was cut out by Lisa Dahlkvist, White pounced on the rebound, but saw her shot arc just wide.

GB were dominating as they defended with few scares at one end and enjoyed plenty of possession at the other.

However, they almost played themselves into trouble with 26 minutes gone.

Skipper Casey Stoney's loose pass presented Seger and Jakobsson with an opportunity to attack her and central defensive partner Dieke.

However, when Jakobsson squared for her team-mate in front of goal, Seger scuffed her shot harmlessly wide.

But Powell's side restored order on the half-hour when Houghton played a one-two with White and blasted a right-footed effort inches over the crossbar.

Lindahl was scurrying anxiously back towards her line seconds later when Smith floated in an audacious attempt from 40 yards, but saw the ball drop just wide.

Marie Hammarstrom caused goalkeeper Karen Bardsley a moment's concern when she also took aim from distance, but she too narrowly missed the target.

Bardsley was called upon for the first time five minutes before the break, beating away Kosovare Asllani's driven shot from a tight angle at her near post.

The keeper was in action again four minutes later when she got down well to keep out Jakobsson's strike after she had cut inside from space on the left.

INTRO: Full-back Steph Houghton came closest to opening the scoring as Team GB demonstrated their Olympic credentials against World Cup semi-finalists Sweden.

The defender blasted a shot just over the crossbar after playing a neat one-two with striker Ellen White on the half-hour as the home side dominated.

Striker Kelly Smith also went close with a cheeky long-range effort, but GB goalkeeper Karen Bardsley had to make a smart save at her near post to deny Kosovare Asllani five minutes before the break.

Powell made three changes at the break as Bardsley, Asante and White made way for Rachel Brown, Claire Rafferty and Rachel Yankey, while Dennerby replaced Svensson with Lina Nilsson.

The Swedish newcomer almost made an instant impact when she found space down the right within three minutes and pulled the ball square towards the near post.

Seger cleverly dummied it, but Stoney was not fooled and made a vital interception.

Brown too was quickly into the game, although Dahlkvist's 52nd-minute shot did not cause her any real problems.

She was in trouble three minutes later, however, when Jakobsson burst through and reached the ball before her as she came from her line, but fortunately for the keeper, the Swede's chipped effort dropped wide.

Dahlkvist made way for Johanna Almgren as the game approached the hour-mark with the home side under sustained pressure.

Alex Scott embarked upon her first adventurous run of the second half with 62 minutes played, but her cross was easily claimed by Lindahl.

Karen Carney and Sophie Bradley replaced Smith and Dieke as Powell used the depth of her squad, but it was the visitors who continued to prosper with Sara Thunebro testing Brown from distance with 64 minutes played and Asllani forcing another save two minutes later.

However, Yankey very nearly made the breakthrough with 20 minutes remaining as GB carved open the Swedes for the first time since the break.

Fellow substitute Carney split the yellow shirts with a perfectly-weighted pass for the Arsenal striker to run clear and fire past Lindahl, only to see her shot cannon back off the post.

Carney went close herself nine minutes later when she floated another long-range shot over Lindahl, but also just over the bar with Team GB finishing strongly.

The hard-working Yankey found herself in space once again nine minute from time, but on this occasion she could not hit the target as defensive cover arrived.

PA

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
News
Supermarkets are running out of Easter Eggs
Deals make eggs cheaper than normal chocolate
Life & Style
Wasp factory: 1.3 million examples of the Vespa scooter have been sold in the last decade
motoringIconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act