Football Ferns warned to be sharper on feet
It took the Football Ferns 223 minutes to score a goal at the Olympics.
Little wonder then, that putting the ball in the back of the net is the Ferns greatest concern heading into Saturday's quarterfinal against the United States at St James' Park in Newcastle.
The Ferns went scoreless against Great Britain and Brazil, but the drought was broken in Coventry yesterday in the 3-1 win over Cameroon.
But before getting too excited about the scoreline, one was an own goal and plenty of chances were missed against a less than agile defence, and a goalkeeper with ants in her pants.
“What we have shown is we are hard to break down, we don't concede many goals, but to win football matches we do need to score goals,” coach Tony Readings said.
“It is definitely an area we need to improve. In the first two games we had chances and if we had taken them we wouldn't have been so nervy today.
“We are going to need to take our chances (against US) because we aren't going to get too many. When you get that few you have to be clinical.”
It was quite a day in Coventry for the Football Ferns. They came to the ground not knowing their fate, but after the US knocked over North Korea, they only needed to win against unfancied Cameroon to advance as one of the two best third-placed teams.
Readings said it was “nerve racking” before kickoff waiting to learn if their Olympic dream would still be alive.
“I was refreshing my phone every minute,” he said. “I think North Korea had a chance at the end of the game, and it went over the bar.
“We let them (the team) know on the pitch during the warmup because we were watching it on the screen.”
It will raise a few eyebrows that the Ferns can make the last eight on the back of a one-win, two-loss record.