Published: 2 August, 2012
by CATHERINE ETOE
A RECORD-BREAKING crowd raised the Wembley Stadium roof on Tuesday when Arsenal star Steph Houghton conjured up the winning goal in a hotly anticipated Olympic match against Brazil.
A crowd of 70,584 fans, a record for a British women’s match, watched in amazement as Houghton (pictured) fired in from a tight angle through the legs of Erika and beyond keeper Andreia with barely two minutes played.
The crowd erupted with an ear-splitting roar and the same sound peppered the air over the next 90 minutes as Team GB outplayed the current Olympic silver medal holders to clinch a group-topping win.
It was an atmosphere usually reserved for women’s World Cup finals but this was Wembley and Arsenal defender Alex Scott summed up the emotion in the squad as she left the ground for the Olympic village. “All of us are buzzing and we don’t want it to end,” she told the New Journal.
Former Hampstead School pupil Rachel Yankey, who made her contribution to the historic win after coming on as a sub on the hour, was equally staggered by the match.
“I never thought in the whole time I’ve been playing football we’d get 70,000 at Wembley. So for me it’s unbelievable,” the 32-year-old said.
Not so surprising was the fact that it was 24-year-old Houghton who popped up with the winner – she also scored against New Zealand and in the 3-0 win over Cameroon last week.
“Steph has been a star for us, especially from left back and she’s not even a left back for Arsenal,’ said fellow Gunner Kelly Smith, who missed a penalty in the second half. “She’s going to win the golden boot at this rate.”
Houghton will get a chance to add to her tally on Friday when Team GB meet Canada in the quarter-finals in Coventry.