Canada’s women’s football team have triumphed at the Tokyo Olympics following a hugely dramatic win over Sweden in the gold medal match.
Friday’s contest – moved back to the evening amid concerns over the searing heat at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium – was eventually settled via a penalty shootout after a tense 1-1 draw after 120 minutes that saw Stina Blackstenius’ effort cancelled out by another spot-kick from Jessie Fleming in the second half of normal time.
In an enthralling shootout, Kosovare Asllani and Ashley Lawrence both missed early on, while Vanessa Gilles hit the woodwork to put Sweden in the ascendancy.
Anna Anvegard was denied by Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, but Hedvig Lindahl’s latest save from Adriana Leon gave captain Caroline Seger the chance to clinch gold for Sweden.
However, the shootout went to sudden death after Seger sent her effort well over the crossbar, with Labbe denying Jonna Andersson before Julia Grosso confidently stepped up to seal gold for Canada – their first in women’s football at the Olympics.
Victory also came on the occasion of inspirational captain Christine Sinclair’s 303rd and possibly final senior international cap.
Sweden settle for silver for the second Games in succession, with heavy tournament favourites and reigning world champions the USA – who lost to rivals Canada for the first time since 2001 at the semi-final stage in Tokyo – taking bronze after a thrilling 4-3 win over Australia on Thursday.