Canada won Sweden This Friday (6), won the long-awaited gold medal in women’s football at the Yokohama Stadium, and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo-2020.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw with goals scored by Blackstenius (Sweden) and Fleming (Canada). A maintains the same number of points while deciding a penalty. In penalties, after a succession of defenses by two goalkeepers and charges on the crossbar, Grosso scored and the Canadian topped the podium.
The result, apart from being unprecedented for the country, closes the cycle of Christine Sinclair With a Canadian shirt. She, the highest international goalscorer in history – between men and women – took the field at 38 for her first final of a major international tournament.
With five World Cups played and four Olympics in his bag, Sinclair led Canada to two consecutive bronze medals before securing gold in Tokyo.
The final was scheduled for 11:00 am Japanese capital time, but It was postponed till 9 pm due to the high temperature that marked the Games.. At night, without the heat of a Japanese summer afternoon, the duel could be played in its best conditions.
35-year-old British coach Bev Priestman was the youngest commander in this edition of the Olympic Games. She maintains the streak of Olympic champion coaches that began with April Heinrich (USA) in 2004. Next, the gold medalists were Pia Sundhej (USA in 2008 and 2012) and Sylvia Neid (Germany in 2016).
Under Priestman’s leadership, the Canadians were in trouble with this final. Responsible for eliminating the Brazilian team in the quarter-finals of the tournament, they had a rough road to the final, with two draws (Japan and Great Britain) and a victory over Chile in the group stage.
Another draw from Brazil in the knockout stage Penalty shootout decision. a 1-0 win over the United States, with a penalty kick from Jesse Fleming in the second half, turned Canada’s dream into reality. A historic achievement, which, however, still left Canadians with the image of a zebra in the Olympic finals.
Two defenses entered the field after scoring just three goals in the competition. Experienced Hedwig Lindahl and Stephanie Labe had saved penalties earlier in the competition and were ready for a possible penalty shootout for gold.
The strategy of both the teams was different throughout the match. The Canadians started the game cautiously, while the Swedes advanced their offensive lines in search of a target.
However, the conflict changed after Sweden’s goal. Blackstenius maintained the “tradition” of scoring in the Olympic final – he scored a Swedish goal in a 2–1 loss against Germany in Rio de Janeiro. Fleming leveled the score in the second half with a penalty.
In overtime, both teams continued to play more cautiously, betting on shots outside the field without success.
Even as Aslani missed the first penalty, Lindahl saved two shots to put the Swede ahead. Captain Caroline Seger had a chance to end the match and give Sweden the title, but was isolated.
The first five shots ended with just two goals for each team. Alternatively, Lebe defended Anderson’s charge, and Grosso scored to give the Canadians the title.
The future, for both teams, will be one of the improvements one can think of in the next Olympic cycle. Important players from both Canada and Sweden are likely to be lost. Canadians Sinclair, Lebe and Sophie Schmidt, over 30, may bid goodbye to the national team ahead of the Paris Games.
Lindahl, 38, and Seger, 36, in Sweden could also make room for young athletes for the 2024 Olympics.