June 22, 2022

Olympics: Canada defeat Sweden on penalties in women’s football final

Olympics: Canada defeat Sweden on penalties in women’s football final..

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe saved two spot-kicks in a nail-biting shootout as Canada defeated Sweden 3-2 on penalties to clinch Olympic women’s football gold for the first time Friday in Yokohama.

Stina Blackstenius scored her team-best fifth goal of the tournament to give Sweden the lead, but Jessie Fleming’s penalty in the second half sent the match to extra time and it finished 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Labbe, the hero of Canada’s quarter-final shootout win over Brazil, saved from Anna Anvegard and Jonna Andersson as Sweden captain Caroline Seger missed a chance to win it when she blazed her attempt over.

Julia Grosso then squeezed her penalty beyond Hedvig Lindahl to trigger wild celebrations for Canada and their iconic captain Christine Sinclair, who had to settle for bronze medals at the past two Games.

Organisers relocated the final from Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, the venue used for the athletics events, south of the capital to Yokohama and delayed kick-off from 11am to 9pm because of heat concerns.

Yet it was still 29 degrees Celsius (84.2 degrees Fahrenheit) as Sweden made their second straight appearance in the final. High humidity bumped the heat index up to 34C.

Sweden, runners-up to Germany in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, entered the final with a perfect five wins from five — including an opening 3-0 rout of the United States.

Four players from that silver-medalling winning side five years ago started here; Seger, Lindahl, Sofia Jakobbson and Kosovare Asllani.

Canada coach Bev Priestman unsurprisingly stuck with the starting XI that eliminated the USA, four-time Olympic champions, in the semi-finals.

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