Moments after Julia Grosso’s kick deflected off the hands of the Swedish keeper and into the goal, her Canadian teammates charged onto the pitch at Tokyo Stadium in jubilation.
Canada’s women’s soccer team are finally gold medallists, and their dramatic win in the gold-medal match capped a huge day for Canada at the Tokyo Games.
The gold came in nail-biting fashion with a 3-2 win on penalty kicks over favoured Sweden national team after the teams were tied 1-1 following extra time.
After each team scored on two of five tries from the penalty spot, Canadian goaltender Stephanie Labbe stopped Jonna Andersson’s attempt to set up the dramatic finish. Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl got a piece of Grosso’s hard shot but couldn’t stop it from finding the back of the net.
The ecstatic Canadian players ran down the field to mob Grosso and Labbe in celebration. The dejected Swedish players gathered at midfield to ponder what went wrong.
“It feels amazing. Wow. Super, super proud of my team,” defender Kadeisha Buchanan said. “It’s a feeling I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Stina Blackstenius scored in the 34th minute for Sweden, but Canada’s Jessie Fleming equalized from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.
When the game went to penalty kicks, Fleming gave Canada an early lead before Nathalie Bjorn and Olivia Schough tallied for Sweden. Deanne Rose delivered with Canada’s fifth shot to pull even.
Organizers moved the start time of this year’s final to 9 p.m. (local time) from the original 11 a.m. kickoff after both federations requested a change to avoid the peak midday heat and humidity.
The venue was also moved from Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium to International Stadium Yokohama, just outside the host city. It was still hot and muggy at game time, but more bearable than the sweltering conditions earlier in the day.