Women's Team

Beckie’s Canada seal Olympic gold

Beckie’s Canada seal Olympic gold
Janine Beckie starred for Canada as they edged out Sweden in a dramatic penalty shootout to earn Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.

Stephanie Labbe was the hero, saving two Swedish penalties to allow Julia Grosso to sweep home the winning spot kick.

Beckie started on the right flank for Bev Priestman’s side, offering her typical blend of energy and technical quality before making way for Adriana Leon at the break.

It was a tussle between Rio 2016’s silver and bronze medalists respectively, and it was the former who started the stronger.

Stina Blackstenius’ fifth goal of the Olympic Games put the Swedes ahead ten minutes before the break, with the forward deservedly breaking the deadlock with a cool finish from Kosovare Asllani’s right-wing ball.

But the Canadians rallied after the restart and got the equaliser their performance deserved just after the hour, when Amanda Ilestedt caught Christine Sinclair as the pair went to meet a near post ball.

Chelsea’s Jessie Fleming made no mistake from the spot, sending Hedvig Lindahl the wrong way to restore parity with 25 to play.

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The goal snapped Sweden back into action, and they slowly began to find their feet in a game which was seemingly slipping away from them as the clock ticked towards the 90-minute mark.

Fridolina Rolfo was guilty of squandering a particularly promising opportunity with twelve to play, pulling away from her marker to meet Asllani’s cutback before flashing her first-time effort wide of the near post.

It was Aslani herself who was next to go close, latching onto a fortuitous deflection off Blackstenius to in one on one with Labbe.

But while her volley on goal evaded the despairing dive of the Canadian stopper, Kadeisha Buchanan was on hand to clear off the line and prevent a late winner from materialising.

Neither side could be separated across 30 minutes of extra time, meaning the fight for an Olympic gold medal went down to the lottery of a penalty shootout.

And it was the two goalkeepers who then took centre stage, with Labbe and Lindahl both saving two penalties apiece.

But Asllani and Sweden captain Caroline Seger striking the woodwork allowed Grosso to sneak her decisive kick into the bottom corner, despite Lindahl getting a hand to the effort.

Beckie and co. celebrated the victory in style, and our forward joins defender Abby Dahlkemper in bringing back an Olympic medal to Manchester, after the USA beat Australia in Thursday’s bronze medal match.

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