Coach Hope Powell described her beaten team as history-makers, saying she had no complaints with the result and was delighted that the Olympic experience was everything that she wanted it to be.
“I think it’s been fantastic,” said Powell.
“The fact that so many people came out here to support us. It’s just sad that we’re out.
“But the girls are history-makers and they’ve done themselves proud, their country proud, and more importantly, women’s football proud.
“It went wrong with us tonight because they scored two goals and we didn’t. They were probably a little quicker out of the blocks.
“They were physical. You’ve got to give Canada credit – they came at us and we struggled a little bit in the first half, though we did get better, but couldn’t find the goal.”
Powell believed the result was simply down to Canada being the better side, but admitted that leaving an injured Kelly Smith out was a hard but correct decision.
And she refused to blame the Japanese referee after she failed to give a penalty for a foul on Eniola Aluko, insisting her side wasn’t good enough.
She said: “We missed Kelly but that was the right decision not to play as she felt herself that it would have been hard.
“I don’t think the occasion got to the girls – you can’t take anything away from Canada as I think they played well.
“They were physical and were first to the ball, while we were a bit leggy. Credit to the girls, they did fantastically well, but just not enough unfortunately.
“It looked a penalty, even from the sidelines but the referee makes decisions. Maybe this one she missed, if indeed it was a penalty, but that side probably wasn’t good enough.”
Canada now meet neighbours and defending champions the United States in the last four at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium on Monday.
France came from behind to beat Sweden 2-1 and the US had a relatively straightforward 2-0 win over New Zealand to reach the semi-finals of the women's Olympic soccer competition on Friday.
World champions Japan also made the last four with a 2-0 win over Brazil meaning they will play France at Wembley in the last four on Monday.
France, playing in the Olympics for the first time, avenged last year's defeat by Sweden in the third place play-off at the World Cup with two goals from set-pieces from Laura Georges and Wendie Renard at Hampden Park, Glasgow.
They cancelled out Nilla Fischer's 18th minute header for the Swedes, strong favourites for a medal before the tournament started.
Georges equalised after 29 minutes with a header when Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl palmed Louisa Necib's corner straight to Georges who scored.
Their second came after 39 minutes when Sweden failed to clear a free kick and the ball fell to Renard who cracked the ball in.
France coach Bruno Bini told reporters: "We played some great creative football, it was perfect. We scared their defence at corners with Wendie and Laura being so strong. We didn't buckle against a really strong Swedish team either."
Swedish coach Thomas Dennerby said: "I am totally lost. I am extremely disappointed as we came into the tournament with the aim of getting to the semi-finals and we could not do that."
Goals in each half from Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux gave three-times Olympic champions the U.S. their win over New Zealand at St.James' Park in Newcastle.
Wambach put the US ahead in the 27th minute, sliding in at the back post to convert a superb pass from Alex Morgan for her fourth goal in as many games at the tournament.
The US were well in charge of the game but it was not until three minutes from the end that they made sure of victory when substitute Leroux showed her pace and strength, bursting into the area and firing home.
Japan weathered a bright start by Brazil and gradually took control of the game after Yuki Ogimi scored in the 26th minute. Shinobu Ohno struck an excellent second goal high into the roof of the net with 18 minutes to play to seal the victory.