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Ladies attempting to make history

ENCOURAGED: Hope Powell takes pride from her team's performances

WITH PROGRESS to the quarter-finals already confirmed, Hope Powell and her team can enjoy their final group game against Brazil at Wembley stadium, on July 31.

Team GB Ladies’ two wins against Cameroon and New Zealand appear to have done more for the woman’s game in a week, than The FA and FIFA have managed over the past few years.

Two clean sheets, four goals and some accomplished performances on the pitch have led many to suggest that the game could be a sell-out. Should that occur, it will break the previous Olympic attendance record for women’s football of 76,489; which came when USA beat China in the 1996 Games.

But Powell knows, Brazil won’t be a pushover as they are most people’s favourites for gold. She said: “Brazil are highly ranked, they’ve got to Olympic finals, World Cups and the style they play is similar to the men’s.

“It does warrant that sort of build-up and that attention. It’s a challenge, a new experience. I never played or managed against Brazil, so we’re really looking forward to it.”

Alongside all the good press and support they have received, there has been some disappointment for the squad, as defender Ifeoma Dieke has left the squad after collecting a cruciate injury against Cameroon.

The England Ladies manager continued: “It is not easy working in the environment in which we work, trying to promote women’s football. Today, we are at the Olympics as Team GB or we’ve been to the World Cup as England and they we go and play in Blackpool and nobody is there supporting, so it has been quite challenging.

“I look at the support around me and the support for the players and our ambition to do well and think we’ve done okay, in spite of all the challenges.”

If the home side pull of a shock win over Brazil tonight, that support is sure to grow again.

Team GB v Brazil kicks-off at 7.45pm and is live on BBC3

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