The Canadian women’s soccer team has defeated the United States after a penalty kick handed them a 1-0 semifinal victory on Monday.
The win means that the four-time gold medalist team is knocked out of the gold and silver medal competitions, but remains in the running for the bronze medal game that will be held in Kashima on Thursday.
The match for gold will be played on Friday at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, where Canada will face Sweden, who beat Australia 1-0 after a 46th-minute goal from Fridolina Rolfo, a forward for Primera División club Barcelona and the Swedish national team.
Jessie Fleming, a midfielder for Chelsea and the Canadian national team, scored a penalty kick in the 74th-minute, earning the team a semifinal victory against the United States.
“It has been a long time coming to beat those guys,” said Fleming. “We want to come away with gold now but it is really special for us to put our flag on the map,” she said.
The United States has previously won the gold medal four times and hasn’t lost to Canada since March 2001. It is only the fourth time the Canadians have beaten their neighbors in more than 60 meetings.
“I think this is my first loss ever to Canada,” said Megan Rapinoe, a forward from the U.S. national team. “It sucks not to be able to compete for a gold medal, which is what we wanted. Not a great performance, either. That’s the most frustrating thing,” she said.
After a scoreless first half, a big effort on goal finally arrived in the 65th-minute when a curling shot from U.S. forward Carli Lloyd was tipped over the crossbar by Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe. Just moments later, the Canada keeper did another remarkable save to keep out a glancing header from U.S. midfielder Julie Ertz.
But just as the Americans were piling on the pressure, a foul by U.S. defender Tierna Davidson just inside the penalty area led to the penalty kick that handed the Canadians a 1-0 lead, as well as victory.
Kateryna Monzul, the game’s referee, at first allowed the play to continue after the foul, but she was advised to take a second look at the infraction on video and decided there was enough contact to warrant a penalty.
“We’ve come this far and I think that’s the message; the group won’t be just happy to go out there and go home with silver,” Canada coach Beverly Priestman said. “Whoever we face, we have to believe now and we have to push and believe we can do something really special for our country, and these players absolutely deserve it.”
“There are some veterans on the team that still feel that hurt from 2012, and I’m just over the moon for that group of players,” she added. “Someone like Christine Sinclair now gets to go to an Olympic final, who has done so much for the program.”
In 2012, the United States played neighbor Canada in the Olympics in a controversial semifinal match that went to overtime. Canadian star Christine Sinclair scored three goals, but the United States won it 4-3 on Alex Morgan’s header in the 123rd minute.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From NTD News