Canada secured a 1-0 victory over world champions the United States to set up a women’s Olympic football final against Sweden at Tokyo 2020.
Canada’s Jessie Fleming scored the winner from the penalty spot, after Deanne Rose was fouled by Tierna Davidson inside the box at the Kashima Stadium.
Davidson’s foul on Rose was initially missed by referee Kateryna Monzul, but it was finally pointed to the spot after the video assistant referee (VAR) showed Monzul that the Canadian was kicked as they both challenged for a loose ball. Substitute goalkeeper Adrianna Franch guessed the right way, but Fleming found the bottom corner.
The US dominated possession in the second half and had six shots on target, but could not find a way past goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.
After the match, USA forward and Ballon D’Or Megan Rapinoe said:
“It sucks. We just didn’t have it today.”
“Just too many errors from us again. Obviously we never want to lose to Canada, I don’t think I’ve ever lost to Canada. So it’s a bitter one.
“I’ve been thinking about the whole tournament and we just didn’t have that juice that we normally do.”
Meanwhile, it was Fridolina Rolfo who scored the other only goal of the semifinals as the Swedes beat Australia to reach their second successive Olympic final.
After hitting the crossbar with Sweden’s best chance of the first half, Rolfo gave the Rio 2016 runners-up the lead within minutes of the restart of their semi-final. Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah tipped a deflected long-range shot onto her crossbar, but the Matildas defence could not clear and Barcelona forward Rolfo volleyed in the rebound from a tight angle.
Now, Sweden will start favourites for the gold medal against Canada, while the USA will start favourites for the bronze medals against Australia; yet, this is football, so anything can happen.