The easy part done and dusted, Britain’s women’s rugby sevens team wake this morning knowing they are less than half an hour away from an historic Olympic gold medal.
In reality, it is little more than they expected. A cumulative total of 110 points scored and only 10 conceded shows just how dominant Simon Middleton’s side have been in their opening four matches in Rio.
While the minnows of Brazil and Japan were swatted away as minor irritants, it was the 22-0 thumping of Canada in the final group game on Sunday morning that truly set tongues wagging before Fiji were brushed aside 26-7 in the quarter-final with little trouble.
All of which means Britain now face the considerably more daunting task of three-time World Series winners New Zealand in the semi-final, with a place in the gold medal match awaiting the winner.
If they are to reach the final, it is the victory over Canada that may provide the crucial confidence boost they desire. Despite England, who have provided all but one player to this British squad, failing to finish above Canada in the last three editions of the World Series, it took just three minutes for Middleton’s side to take a lead that they never looked like relinquishing.
Captain Emily Scarratt scored twice in the rout, but it was Amy Wilson-Hardy who stole the show with a stunning solo try from deep inside her own half.
That win ensured what appeared, on paper at least, to be a simple last-eight encounter against Fiji. So it proved with Abbie Brown receiving the ball direct from kick-off at the Deodoro Stadium to give Britain a lead after precisely 17 seconds.
Brits in Rio talk about the Olympics so far
The Pacific Islanders soon leveled, but that was as close as they came to threatening an upset with Alice Richardson, Joanne Watmore and Brown all touching down to secure the win.
“We’ve put some good points on Canada and Fiji so I think we’ve done ourselves justice,” said Brown.
“We keep building with every game and I think we’ve shown that we’ve got what it takes.
“This is where we’ve always aimed to be and we’ve got to be thinking about getting to the final.
“This is what we’ve dreamed about for two years so hopefully we can put it all into play.”
Favourites Australia survived an unexpected draw against United States in their last group game to ease past Spain 24-0 in the quarter-final and set up a semi-final clash with Canada.