Nadeshiko's Olympic dream comes to an end but Australia still in the hunt

Japan's hopes of winning a medal in the women's football competition on home soil at the Tokyo Olympics were ended on Friday night with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Sweden in the quarter-finals. Maja Hitij/Getty Images

The quarter-final fixtures of the women's football competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Friday provided plenty of drama, but Japan's effort was not enough for the hosts to avoid a 3-1 defeat against Sweden at the Saitama Stadium.

As a result, Australia came off as the only Asian Football Confederation representative remaining at the Games, as they defeated Great Britain 4-3 in extra time took a semi-final clash against the Swedes on Monday.

The other semi-final will pit the United States against their neighbours Canada.

Canada edged South American champions Brazil in a penalty shootout, while back-to-back world champions USWNT also needed tie-breakers to overcome Netherlands at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama to set up the two mouth-watering last-four fixtures.

However, as the women's football tournament resumes on Monday, conspicuous by their absence will be the host nation, who had high hopes heading into the competition.

Delayed Olympics still proves too early for the rebuilding Nadeshiko

Winning a medal at their home Olympics undoubtedly would have been a matter of great pride for the Japanese women's national team. And that was exactly what Asako Takakura had in her mind when she was named the first woman in charge of Nadeshiko in 2016.

But Takakura had her work cut out taking over the reins of a team for whom triumphs in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and 2012 Olympics had become a distant memory. A defeat in the 2015 World Cup final and failure to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics meant it was high time for a shakeup.

Out went most of the veterans from their glory years and in came several youngsters who were part of the country's under-20 side that emerged world champions in 2018 as Nadeshiko prepared for the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

But the Round of 16 defeat to the Netherlands at the World Cup in France and the quarter-final exit at the Games two years on have shown that Japan are still a work in progress and there is plenty of work to do to return them to the top of the world.

With a squad that averaged 33 caps per player, compared to 66 at the 2012 London Olympics, Japan found themselves under the cosh on Friday and Chelsea defender Magdalena Eriksson had the Swedes ahead only seven minutes.

Mina Tanaka found her second goal from as many matches as Japan came back into the game in the 23rd minute. But goals from Stina Blackstenius and Kosovare Asllani in the second half would undo Nadeshiko's valiant efforts and leave the Japanese players in tears at the final whistle.

Japan can find some solace in the fact that their exit came at the hands of Sweden, who were the only side to win all three games in the group stages including included a 3-0 defeat of United States. They will now regroup to defend their continental title at next year's AFC Women's Asian Cup.

Kerr, Fowler headline the Matildas' fightback past Team GB

After three quarter-final appearances at the Women's World Cup and two at the Olympics, Australia have finally managed to reach the last four of a major tournament for the first time after they overcame Great Britain in a topsy-turvy knockout tie.

And once again it was Sam Kerr who made the difference for Australia as she scored her fourth and fifth goals of the tournament to help Australia produce a comeback at the Kashima Soccer Stadium.

Having held the Americans to a goalless draw in their final group fixture, Australia came into the game with confidence and took the lead through Alanna Kennedy. But Ellen White's two goals in the second half had them on the verge of elimination before Kerr got in on the act.

The Matildas attacker scored the equaliser one minute from time to take the tie to extra time before 18-year-old Mary Fowler handed them the lead in the second half of extra time. Kerr scored her second three minutes later meaning White's third would go in vain.

As they prepare for the semi-final against Sweden, who they suffered a 4-2 defeat to in the group stages, Australia will have revenge in their mind along with a historic first medal at the Olympic Games.