August 13, 2012
AUCKLAND – Ria Percival has capped an groundbreaking Olympic campaign with the Football Ferns by being named in the BBC’s team of the tournament.
The 22-year-old fullback played every minute of New Zealand’s campaign that ended in the quarterfinals at the hands of gold medallists USA, with her performance against five times FIFA Player of the Year Marta in a gut wrenching 0-1 loss to Brazil particularly impressive.
USA beat World Cup winners Japan in the final with Canada claiming bronze and those three teams supply nine of the BBC’s best 11, with six hailing from within the gold medallists’ ranks. Great Britain fullback Steph Houghton is the only other player in the tournament team that didn’t finish on the podium.
Football Ferns coach Tony Readings says Percival’s recognition is well deserved.
“Ria has performed consistently all year and this is just reward for the contribution she has made to the team. This again shows the huge strides the Ferns have made on the World stage with our players now recognised amongst the World’s best,” Readings said.
Percival will line up for USV Jena this season after helping fellow German Frauen Bundesliga club FFC Frankfurt to the UEFA Women’s Champions League final earlier this year.
BBC’s Team of the Olympic Women's Football Tournament
Goalkeeper: Hope SOLO, United States
Right-Back: Ria PERCIVAL, New Zealand
Centre-Half: Christie RAMPONE, United States (Captain)
Centre-Half: Azusa IWASHIMIZU, Japan
Left-Back: Steph HOUGHTON, Great Britain
Midfield: Megan RAPINOE, United States
Midfield: Desiree SCOTT, Canada
Midfield: Carli LLOYD, United States
Forward: Alex MORGAN, United States
Forward: Abby WAMBACH, United States
Forward: Christine SINCLAIR, Canada