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Australia and USWNT will meet in the Bronze medal match on August 5.

Securing narrow 1-0 wins, Canada and Sweden will face each other for Tokyo Olympics glory in women’s football on Friday. Canada pulled off a clutch win against the USWNT, while Sweden continued their impressive run of form against mighty Australia.

Canada, after winning two consecutive bronze medals in London and Rio, won their first in 37 matches against the USWNT. Sweden, on the other hand, looked relatively comfortable after scoring early on in the second half. Although the women’s football semi-finals lacked goals in comparison to how the Tokyo Olympics has progressed so far, the matches were not bland.

Here are the key highlights from the women’s football semi-finals at Tokyo Olympics.

Fleming’s penalty inspires Canada to historic win

Jessie Fleming’s penalty was the decider in the Tokyo Olympics semis in women’s football at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, as Canada pulled off a historic win against the USWNT. The Chelsea midfielder converted after Deanne Rose fell off Tierna Davidson’s challenge on the edge of the box.

The USWNT’s volatile campaign, which saw them start with a loss against Sweden, took a hit, as goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher limped off in the 29th minute. Naeher went down due to discomfort in the knee in the 19th minute. She eventually went off just before the half-hour mark. The shot-stopper starred in USWNT’s quarterfinal win against the Netherlands, saving two spot-kicks in the shootout and one in regular time.

Tokyo Olympics football
Canada players celebrate their win over USWNT (Courtesy: FIFA.com)

Canada, on the other hand, looked incisive from the first minute, transitioning well. The numerical superiority in midfield saw them win the ball frequently, ultimately limiting the USA’s chances on goal. In their first win over the US Women’s football team in over 20 years, Canada’s attack created more chances upfront in the opening 45 minutes at the Tokyo Olympics.

The USA’s ultimate attempt to be more clinical upfront came in the second half, with three substitutions at the hour mark. Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press replaced the front three, which saw the USA register more shots on goal afterwards. However, it was Fleming’s goal from the spot that made the difference.

The Canadian side held on, putting an end to the USA’s aim of winning the Olympic gold after World Cup glory. The USA missed out on Olympic finals for the second consecutive time, after going out against Sweden in Rio.

Sweden’s winning spree continues with narrow win against Australia

Despite coming close to scoring on several occasions in the first half, Fridolina Rolfoe’s early goal drove Sweden to the Tokyo Olympics women’s football gold medal match. Rolfoe converted Stina Blackstenius’ lay off in the 46th minute for the deciding goal. Blackstenius was aptly present inside the box, when Filippa Angeldal’s shot came off the post.

Tokyo Olympics football
Sweden beat Australia to make successful Olympic finals (Courtesy: Svensk Fotboll)

Australia controlled possession, yet lacked verticality and looked redundant in their progression. In the absence of directness, Sam Kerr failed to get into the game, hence limiting their chances of scoring. Against expectations, Australia were not as offensive as expected throughout the second half. Despite showing brave calibre against a strong attack, the intent to penetrate and get forward was not visible.

On the other hand, it was not Sweden’s best performance of the tournament by any means. Yet, they were able to score off a sequence that caught the opposition defence off-guard. A tricky deflection off Angeldal’s shot was the move that induced it all for the Swedes.

Despite having the lead, the Swedes looked ruthless in attack. A late missed chance, luckily, did not come back to haunt them as they comfortably held on to the lead.

Australia’s problems, going into the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics women’s football, only escalated after Ellie Carpenter saw a red card late in the game. Carpenter has been a crucial figure in the Matildas defence and her unavailability will only complicate things against a lethal US attack. The two will face-off on Thursday for the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics women’s football.

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