Veteran USA striker Abby Wambach insisted her side were "bound
for glory" after a 2-0 win over New Zealand kept the defending
champions on course for a third straight Olympic football title.
Wambach fired the United States into an early lead at St James'
Park, the home of English Premier League club Newcastle, on
Friday as the holders booked their place in the last four.
But it was not until three minutes from time, when Sydney Leroux
added a second goal, that victory was secured.
The Americans will now face either hosts Great Britain or Canada,
who play later Friday, in the semi-finals.
"This team is bound for glory," said Wambach. "It might not look
pretty in every second of the game, but we get it done."
Wambach paid tribute to New Zealand by saying: "They are very
physical. They're one of the most improved teams in this
tournament in the last few years. You have to give them credit.
"The workrate they have is amazing, but they couldn't save it in
the second half as they got a bit tired.
"They have a fantastic future and they're a great team."
Meanwhile France marked their first appearance at an Olympic
women's football tournament by reaching the last four following a
2-1 win over Sweden at Glasgow's Hampden Park.
Sweden took the lead in the 18th minute when Nilla Fischer
deflected in a Marie Hammarstrom corner off her shoulder but
France equalised 11 minutes later through Laura Georges's header
from a corner.
France then went ahead shortly before half-time courtesy of
Wendie Renard's powerful shot.
But that they won in normal time was down to goalkeeper Sarah
Bouhaddi, who made a superb one-handed save to stop a Fischer
volley that seemed destined for the top corner.
Victory gave France a measure of revenge for their defeat by
Sweden in the third place playoff at last year's World Cup.
"Sarah made a great save at just the right moment that allowed us
to continue into the semi-finals," said France coach Bruno Bini.
"A goalkeeper can lose you a match, but there are a very few that
can win you a match."
France will now play either Brazil or world champions Japan in
the first semi-final at London's Wembley Stadium on Monday.