Canada wins 1st gold in women’s soccer

Japan 2020

Players of Canada celebrate beating Sweden in a penalty shootout during the women’s soccer match for the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Canada won its first Olympic gold medal in women’s soccer, beating Sweden 3-2 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw.

Julia Grosso, just 20, converted the winning penalty kick, putting her shot off the right hand of goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.

Jessie Fleming made Canada’s first kick in the shootout, but Ashley Lawrence, Vanessa Gillies and Adriana Leon all failed to convert.

Kosovare Asllani hit a post with Sweden’s first kick, and Nathalie Björn and Olivia Schough built a 2-1 Sweden lead. Anna Anvegard was saved by Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe and with a chance to win the gold, Caroline Seger put her kick over the crossbar.

Deanne Rose tied the score for Canada, and Jonna Andersson’s sixth kick for Sweden was saved by Labbe, who dived to her left.

Grosso then won the gold for Canada, which took the bronze in 2012 and 2016.

Stina Blacksteinius had put Sweden ahead in the 34th minute from Asllani’s cross. The shot by the 25-year-old striker appeared to deflect off Gillies and just past the outstretched right arm of Labbe.

Blacksteinius’ goal was her tournament-leading fifth and the seventh of her Olympic career, moving her one ahead of Lotta Schelin for the most in the Olympics for the fifth-ranked Swedes. Blacksteinius has 28 goals in 68 international appearances.

Fleming tied the score with a penalty kick in the 67th minute. Referee Anastasia Pustovoitova of Russia didn’t call for the penalty at first after Amanda Ilestedt slid into Fleming’s left foot but the decision was made after a video review.

This match was moved from Tokyo’s National Stadium to Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium and kickoff time pushed back 10 hours to 9 p.m. (8 a.m. EDT) because of the oppressive heat. Even with the shift, it was 83 degrees at kickoff with 78% humidity. With fans barred because to the pandemic, the sound of boots kicking balls echoed around the 72,000-capacity venue, the site of Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Germany in the 2002 men’s World Cup final.

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