Caroline Weir’s late 25 yard strike saw Team GB fight from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw against Canada, which saw the British team top Group E from the Canadians.
Rachel Daly had the best chance of the first half for Team GB as she fired over in the 33rd minute but Canada took a 55th minute lead, as Adriana Leon fired in from Ashley Lawrence’s cross to produce the first goal by Team GB at this Olympics tournament.
Weir saw a 68th minute chance unluckily evade the net but she produced a stunning 25 yard strike which evaded Stephanie Labbe’s reach and hit the back of goal, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
Team GB consequently advanced as Group E winners ahead of Canada who finished runners-up, in turn setting up a Quarter-Final tie against Australia at 10am UK Time on Friday 30 July 2021.
Team GB made a bright start as rain lashed Kashima Stadiums as Rachel Daly and Georgia Stanway both wasted early strikes, either side of Sophie Schmidt’s second minute strike which flew wide after the Canadian intercepted a poor clearance from Ellie Roebuck.
Canada thereafter struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities through the first half except for a 27th minute strike for Janine Beckie, which was blocked by her Manchester City teammate – Caroline Weir.
Hege Riise’s Brits however looked the more dominant in attack with their best chance coming in the 33rd minute as Daly rifled over via deflection from Lawrence, who was making the tackle with the resulting corner cleared but intercepted by Weir whose shot was saved.
Canada manager, Bev Priestman made two changes at half time as Deanne Rose and Beckie were substituted with Jordyn Huitema and Jessie Fleming coming on in their places.
Those changes quickly made a positive impact as Canada broke forward seven minutes into the second half, as Leon intercepted Roebuck’s pass but Millie Bright recovered to block Leon’s shot.
Leon however punished a defensive error three minutes later as Lawrence whipped in a cross from the left which she was able to smash in to put the Canadians in front.
Canada thereafter sat back as Jill Scott and Weir wasted chances with the latter bending in a tightly struck shot in the 68th minute, which found the crossbar before rebounding away from goal off the post.
Team GB’s relentless pressure eventually paid off as Weir blasted in from 25 yards beyond Labbe’s reach to rescue a 1-1 draw, which ultimately sent England through to the knockout stage as Group E winners.
Elsewhere, Mina Tanaka’s 77th minute goal gifted Japan victory over Chile as the Olympic hosts secured a knockout spot as one of two best third-placed teams.
Sweden topped Group G after first-half goals from Anna Anvegard and Madelen Janogy proved enough to defeat New Zealand, who are eliminated from the tournament.
USA meanwhile held Australia to a goalless draw to cling onto the Group G runner-up position, with the Aussies qualifying for the knockouts as one of two best third-placed finishers.
Across in Group F, Netherlands thrashed China 8-2 to top Group F with Lineth Beerensteyn, Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema all scoring braces.
Brazil consequently finished second after Andressa’s 19th minute goal proved enough to defeat Zambia and seal their knockout spot.
The Quarter Finals are now set for Friday 30 July and will see the following ties take place;
Canada v Brazil (9am UK Time)
Great Britain v Australia (10am UK Time)
Sweden v Japan (11am UK Time)
Netherlands v USA (12pm UK Time)
Canada: Stephanie Labbe, Kadeisha Buchanan, Jayde Riviere, Ashley Lawrence, Vanessa Gilles, Quinn (Grosso 67′), Sophie Schmidt, Deanne Rose (Huitema 45′), Adriana Leon, Evelyne Viens (Prince 54′), Janine Beckie (Fleming 45′)
Substitutes: Kailen Sheridan, Gabrielle Carle, Jessie Fleming, Julia Grosso, Jordyn Huitema, Nichelle Prince, Shelina Zadorsky
Team GB: Ellie Roebuck, Lucy Bronze, Millie Bright, Leah Williamson, Demi Stokes, Sophie Ingle (Kirby 77′), Caroline Weir, Rachel Daly (White 63′), Jill Scott (Little 63′), Georgia Stanway, Nikita Parris
Substitutes: Sandy Maclver, Steph Houghton, Kim Little, Ellen White, Fran Kirby, Ella Toone, Lotte Wubben-Moy