An overview of the bronze and gold medal matches of the women’s football tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.
Weathering an early storm, the US struck just eight minutes in when Megan Rapinoe curled her corner directly over Teagan Micah. The Australians needed just eight minutes to respond with their own goal when Caitlin Foord chased down a poor ball across the US backline to feed Sam Kerr, the striker finding the back of the net from a tight angle. The comeback was short-lived however, as Rapinoe re-established the lead four minutes later with an outrageous no-look volley from Alanna Kennedy’s poor clearance.
The lead opened wider by Carli Lloyd in first half stoppage time when she let fly to Micah’s far corner from just inside the area. The 39-year-old back on the scoresheet shortly after the break when she punished Kennedy’s weak header to steal the ball away and feed it between Micah’s parted ankles.
In their first major tournament medal match, the Matildas weren’t willing to just roll over and accept defeat but rallied once more and reduced the deficit just three minutes later when Kyah Simon’s looped cross was well met by a jumping Caitlin Foord. If not for a few coats of pain on the upright it would have been 4-3 moments later when another ball from the right, this time from Hayley Raso, landed on an Aussie head in the box but Kerr could only ping her shot off of the post.
Still needing two with all hope nearly all gone, Emily Gielnik blasted a fine solo effort into the right side of AD Franch’s goal to bring the match to within one. However, with just four minutes of stoppage to be played out, the Matildas couldn’t find one more clean moment to grab a late equalizer with the honours going to the USA.
Almost as if the last of the drama – or heavy goalscoring at least – had been used up the previous day, there were comparatively few goals as Sweden and Canada battled for gold.
As expected, Canada held a firm defensive formation throughout, leaving Sweden looking a little toothless in attack for the majority of the first 90 minutes, Stina Blackstenius’s deflected effort after the half hour all to sperate the sides at the break. Coming out for the second half with more attacking impetus, Canada had more joy breaking down the Swedish defence than the Scandinavians had at the other end thanks to the impressive defensive work of their opposition. The match brought level when Jessie Fleming dispatched her second ice-cold penalty of the Olympics after Amanda Ilestedt had caught Christine Sinclair late in the box.
In a tense contest, it was Sweden who offered more in attack but there was little the Scandinavians could actually put on target to test Stephanie Labbé as the match ground down through regulation time and then 30 minutes of extra time. The two nations needing penalties to separate them.
Not a shoot-out for the ages, both sides saw efforts cannon the woodwork as well as shots saved. With a chance to wrap up the gold, Caroline Seger fired her effort over the bar, forcing Deanne Rose to fire home her spot kick to take the tie to sudden death, Julia Grosso calm and composed after Jonna Andersson had seen her shot saved, leaving the Canucks as the victors.