Olympic soccer: Germany face Sweden in Women’s Soccer Final
Germany and Sweden will meet for gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics after both countries advanced to the women’s soccer final on Tuesday in Brazil.
The Rio Olympics’ women’s soccer final is set as Germany will meet Sweden on Friday in the tournament’s climax. Sweden, who advanced past the quarterfinals by defeating the USA, beat hosts Brazil on penalties in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Germany made easy word of Canada, who had been an early favorite to play in the gold medal game.
Like against the Americans, Sweden played on the counter-attack and depended greatly on its defense. The Brazilians had gone through the group stage with ease, but the team had gone the last three matches without scoring a goal. Brazil’s attack had faltered following an eight goal outpouring in its two opening matches.
Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl was once again the hero for the Swedes as she kept Brazil at bay for 120 minutes. Lindahl was called into action to make nine saves during the match as Brazil tested her often. In the penalty shootout, Lindahl saved her best for last, making two saves as Sweden won on penalties 4-3.
Sweden coach Pia Sundhage will attempt to win her third consecutive Olympic soccer final in Friday. She won the 2008 and 2012 finals while in charge of the United States.
Germany, who claimed bronze in 2000, 2004 and 2008, qualified for the Olympic final for the first time following a 2-0 win over Canada.
The Germans’ Melanie Behringer struck from the penalty spot on 21 minutes, after Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan’s foolish tackle on Alexandra Popp. Despite going down a goal early, Canada did everything possible to get back into the match.
Buchanan nearly turned hero just before halftime, but her header was cleared off the line by Germany’s Tabea Kemme.
Just before the hour mark Canada had another chance to level the match. Melissa Tancredi’s pass split two German defenders and found the feet of Janine Beckie. Her shot went just wide, and the Germans escaped another close call.
Canada’s poor finishing cost them as Germany extended its lead on 60 minutes. The Germans countered a Canada attack with precision. Sara Dabritz needed just one touch before rifling her shot past Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.
Germany’s gold medal match appearance will be the last game in charge for coach Silvia Neid, who has been in charge of the team for 11 years.
The final between Sweden and Germany will take place on Friday evening with kick-off set for 5:30 PM local time. The third place game will also take place on Friday between Brazil and Canada, kicking off at 1:00 PM local time.