Powell joy after GB women's football win

PA Sport
Hope Powell's Great Britain women's football team beat New Zealand 1-0 in Cardiff
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Hope Powell's Great Britain women's football team beat New Zealand 1-0 in Cardiff

Hope Powell hailed her "history makers" on Wednesday evening after Great Britain's women's football team launched their Olympic campaign with a 1-0 win over New Zealand in Cardiff.

Steph Houghton scored the only goal, curling home a superb 65th-minute free-kick which, given the nature of this 12-team competition, is almost enough to secure a quarter-final berth.

As the first match GB have played in women's football, and the first event of the Olympics, Powell knows GB have made a statement that can never be erased, and she said: "The girls have made history today. It has been mentioned so much we couldn't ignore it. We were the first women's GB team ever and we won. That will never change now."

She added: "We wanted to enjoy the experience. We recognised it was the first event and that it was an opportunity for the girls to showcase their talent.

"I wanted them to embrace it and have a go. As it happens, we did alright."

Despite the Football Association's pre-match claim that in excess of 31,000 tickets had been sold, the official attendance of 24,549 meant that it wasn't the UK record for a women's international the game had been billed as.

Nevertheless, Powell and her players have been overwhelmed by the entire Olympic experience so far, and added: "It was a great crowd. It is nice to come to a big stadium. That inspires the girls to do well."

GB will hope to enjoy a similar experience when they take on Cameroon in the same stadium on Thursday.

After a nervous opening, GB blew a succession of chances before Houghton stepped up for her big moment. It was some kind of redemption for the Durham-born defender, who has twice missed out on major tournaments because of injury.

"She has been really unlucky," said Powell. "She suffered major injuries before the World Cup in 2007 and the Euros in 2009. She has worked really hard to get back into condition and is now one of the fittest players in the squad. Scoring today was a great honour for her."

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