Sweden suffers extra time agony

World champions Germany took a significant step towards the one major trophy they have never won when they reached the Olympic women's football semi-finals after beating Sweden 2-0 in Beijing on Friday.

Both goals came in extra-time from Frankfurt midfielder Kirsten Gerefrekes and Duisberg’s Simone Laudehr.

As has been the pattern through the tournament, the Germans have been stolid rather than spectacular, making hard work of moving forward and only occasionally threatening the Swedish goal.

But their defence, marshalled by goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, has been rock solid. It has yet to concede a goal with Germany going through their Group matches with a scoreless draw against Brazil and 1-0 victories over North Korea and Nigeria.

Veteran German captain Birgit Prinz squandered her side’s best chance in the first-half when she worked her way around Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.

But with the path clear, Prinz pushed her shot wide of the right-hand post, leaving a despairing coach Silvia Neid on the touchline with her head in her hands.

Late in the second-half, Prinz fired wide to the right when she had drawn Lindahl well out of the goal and regular time ended goalless.

Gerefrekes eventually found the net for Germany when she headed home a corner in the 13th minute of extra-time, forcing Sweden to go all out on attack to try to find the equalizer.

Laudehr sealed the outcome with the second goal five minutes from time to set Germany up for a semi-final against Brazil on Monday – a repeat of last year’s World Cup final which Germany won 2-0.