Tokyo 2020: Women’s Soccer Medal Round Recap
The Women’s Soccer tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games wrapped up today with the Gold Medal match between Canada and Sweden.
Over the past two weeks, we saw an exciting tournament with plenty of upsets and surprising storylines. After beginning with 12 teams in contention, the Tokyo 2020 tournament culminated in a medal round featuring the United States, Australia, Canada and Sweden.
In case you missed the action, here is a recap of how the matches played out and who went home with the medals.
Bronze Medal Match
The Bronze Medal Match between the USWNT and Australia was an absolute barn burner. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw in the group stage, but this one was a completely different story in terms of offensive production. The US and Australia combined for a whopping seven goals, which is pretty rare in a game of this magnitude.
The USA took an early lead, with Megan Rapinoe opening the scoring in the eighth minute. Sam Kerr answered in the 17th minute for Australia, before Rapinoe gave the USWNT another lead in the 21st minute. Carli Lloyd got on the board in first half stoppage time to extend the lead for the US heading into halftime.
Lloyd scored her second six minutes into the second half to give the USA what looked to be a decisive 4-1 lead. However, the Matildas battled on, as they had done all tournament. Caitlin Foord responded quickly, pulling a goal back in the 54th minute. Emily Gielnik cut the lead to one in the 90th minute, but ultimately the comeback fell just short.
In the end, the USWNT picked up their first bronze medal and their sixth Olympic medal overall. After an impressive tournament, Australia narrowly missed out on their first soccer medal after losing by a single goal in the semi-finals and the bronze medal match.
🇺🇸 USA are #OlympicFootball bronze winners 🥉
🤩 The #FIFAWWC champions edge a seven-goal thriller thanks to braces from the evergreen @mPinoe and @CarliLloyd 🔥#Tokyo2020 | #Olympics | #Football pic.twitter.com/5Balj4h3Wf
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) August 5, 2021
Gold Medal Match
The Gold Medal Match contested by Canada and Sweden was a low scoring-affair, but it still produced its fair share of excitement.
Sweden opened the scoring in the 34th minute through Stina Blackstenius. The 25-year-old’s fifth goal of the tournament gave Sweden a lead that they held into halftime. The advantage lasted until the 68th minute, when Jessie Fleming converted a penalty that was won by Christine Sinclair to bring Canada level.
The 1-1 deadlock held past the 90th minute and through extra time. As a result, the gold medal would have to be decided by a penalty shootout. After three rounds of the shootout, Sweden held a 2-1 advantage. From that point on, Canadian Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé produced two clutch saves. Deanne Rose and Julia Grosso each converted their spot kicks to ultimately give Canada a 3-2 shootout win in six rounds.
Penalties were a common theme throughout Canada’s run to the gold medal. They defeated Brazil on penalties in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, they converted a penalty in regular time to beat the United States. Perhaps this recent experience gave them an edge in the decisive shootout.
With the result, Canada earned their first Olympic gold medal in women’s soccer. Sweden picked up their second consecutive silver, having done a great job of sustaining success despite a significant amount of roster turnover.
🥇 Christine Sinclair and Canada win #OlympicFootball gold!
💫 Jessie Fleming is their saviour in normal time. Stephanie Labbe is their shootout superheroine 🦸♀️#Olympics | #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/9J5qgoiEaq
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) August 6, 2021
🤩 What a tournament! Huge congratulations to all the #OlympicFootball medal winners 👏#Olympics | #Football | #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/vQF7qxIHGU
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) August 6, 2021
So there you have it. Canada, Sweden and the United States are the three Tokyo 2020 medalists in women’s soccer.
Based on the tournament as a whole, it is no surprise that both medal matches were extremely close. All three medalists and Australia deserve plenty of praise for helping to produce such an exciting tournament.
Congratulations to Canada, the official reigning Olympic champions!
Just keep saying it until it sinks in! #CANWNT are Olympic Gold Medallists! 🍁🥇#Tokyo2020 #CANWNTGold pic.twitter.com/I5eWAKpaQ1
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) August 6, 2021
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Featured image courtesy of @CanadaSoccerEN.