Brazil survives penalty shootout, advances to women’s soccer semis

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Through four rounds of the penalty shootout in the women’s soccer quarterfinal between Brazil and Australia the penalty takers were perfect, with all eight shooters finding the back of the net. Up stepped Marta, one of the best players in the history of the sport, with the hopes of the host nation resting on her shoulders. But Australian keeper Lydia Williams was up to the challenge, stopping Marta’s shot and placing Australia one made penalty from pulling off the upset.

With her captain needing her to step up, Barbara stopped Katrina Gorry’s penalty to extend the shootout. And in the eighth round Barbara stepped forward once again, stopping Alanna Kennedy’s penalty to push Brazil into the semifinals (0-0; 7-6 Brazil on penalties) where they’ll face Sweden Tuesday.

Brazil applied more offensive pressure throughout the majority of the match, but only ten of their 29 shots were on target. The closest they came to scoring came in the 90th minute, when a cross sent in by left back Tamires reached Andressa Alves, whose shot was saved by an extended Williams. Brazil also earned 19 corner kicks on the night, but they were unable to truly break down an Australian team that looked dangerous on the counter on multiple occasions.

Offensively the Brazilians were missing that final finisher, which isn’t a surprise when considering that the all-time leading goal scorer in Olympic history (Cristiane) was sidelined due to yellow card accumulation. She’ll be back for the semifinals, where they’re likely to run into another team looking to benefit from the counterattack in Sweden.

Sweden won the first match of the day, advancing on penalties against two-time defending Olympic gold medalists United States. The other semifinal matchup Tuesday pits Canada against Germany, with the Canadians beating France 1-0 and Germany eliminating China by a similar scoreline.