Canada to play for gold after beating the U.S. in Olympic soccer semi-final

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Published August 2, 2021 at 1:27 pm

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Canada will play for gold in Olympic soccer after a 1-0 victory over the U.S.A. early this morning, avenging a controversial 4-3 semi-final defeat nine years ago in London.

The Canadian women, two-time bronze medalists in this tournament, arrived in Tokyo with two stated goals: to “Win it for Her” – meaning captain Christine Sinclair, who scored three goals in that 2012 match and is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer – and to change the colour of their medals.

Thanks to a perfectly place penalty by Jessie Fleming in the 75th minute, they have a chance to reach that first goal and are guaranteed to achieve the second.

Canada hasn’t beaten the Americans in 20 years, but the U.S. side has looked beatable in Tokyo, especially after suffering a 3-0 thrashing by Sweden – Canada’s opponent in Thursday night’s gold medal match.

The Canada-USA game was fairly even, with neither side able to mount much attack, though Canadian ‘keeper Stephanie Labbe – the hero in the quarter-final match against Brazil – had to look sharp on a couple of occasions.

The big moment came when Deanna Rose was brought down in the penalty area with 15 minutes to go. Fleming stepped up to the spot and drove a bullet into the right side of the netting, just inside the post. U.S. goalkeeper Adrianna Franch – who came on as a substitute after America number one Alyssa Naeher left with an injury in the first half – guessed correctly but couldn’t catch up to Fleming’s shot.

And now Canada will play for gold against Sweden, who nipped Australia in this morning’s second semi-final.
The U.S. will play Australia for bronze.

There are a half-dozen GTA players on Canada’s squad, including four from Durham Region (Nichelle Prince, Ajax; Allysha Chapman, Courtice, Kailen Sheridan, Whitby; and Jayde Riviere, Pickering) and two from Peel Region (Kadeisha Buchanan, Brampton; and Ashley Lawrence, Caledon).

Photo: Andre Penner, AP

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