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British coach Powell basking in Olympic glow

  • Reuters, Monday, July 30, 2012 4:32 PM

The coaches of most teams about to face Brazil would be nervous, but Hope Powell is looking forward to the occasion. A crowd of 70,000 is expected for Britain's match against Brazil at Wembley Stadium Tuesday. Both teams have already qualified for the quarterfinals and Powell envisions an historic day for women's soccer.

"Tomorrow will show women's football in the spotlight, 70,000 people will come out and support us," said Powell, who has coached England's national team for 13 years and has coached Britain to victories in the first two matches. The fact that we are playing at Wembley as GB (Britain) for the first time, hopefully in front of a record crowd as I'm sure it will be, is fantastic."

Britain opened the Olympics by beating New Zealand 1-0 and qualified for the last eight with a 3-0 win over Cameroon. The game will decide which nation wins Group E and has captured the public's imagination. The crowd is expected to be a record for a women's international in Britain.

The British women are making their first appearance at an Olympic Games and the men have returned after an absence of 52 years. Britain's absence from the tournament stems from fears that the soccer federations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could have their independent status within FIFA compromised if their players appeared for a unified British team. The International Olympic Committee insisted Britain had to return to Olympic soccer to host the London Games, which gave the women's team its first Olympic opportunity since the institution of a women's tournament in 1996.

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