Prior to the meeting, there were many indications that American women had a better chance of progressing to the Grand Final. They are four-time Olympic champions (1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012) and despite being eliminated in the quarter-finals in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, they played as favourites. The Canadians had no chance, and in the last two Olympics they took third place.
The grief of American women and the humble victories of Canadian women
At the Tokyo Olympics, the Americans weren’t at their best. In the first group match they unexpectedly lost 0: 3 to the Swedes. Then they were defeated 6:1 by the representative of New Zealand, and in the last match against Australia there was a 0-0 draw, giving the USA a promotion to the quarter-finals. In it, the Americans defeated the Dutch only after penalty kicks.
The Canadians, in turn, scored two group draws – 1-1 with Japan and 1-1 with Great Britain, and also won 2-1 with Chile. In the quarter-finals they faced players from Brazil and penalties were also needed to make the decision. The Canadian representatives were more effective and could enjoy the promotion.
The winning goal is a quarter of an hour before the end of the match
For almost the entirety of the semi-final match between the Americans and Canadians, the former was better visually. But their efficiency was disappointing, and so was Stephanie Lapp’s brilliant match in goal. The decisive moment came in the 74th minute, when Jesse Fleming used a penalty kick to secure her team’s access to the final. The win was sweet for them, as they beat them for the first time in 20 years!
The Australians will face Sweden in the second semi-final match. For Canadian players, this is the first-ever upgrade to an Olympic tournament final.
“Extreme organizer. Problem solver. Passionate web buff. Internet expert. Devoted travel nerd. Professional troublemaker.”