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The two sides both had a strong showing in the first half

The two sides both had a strong showing in the first half

The two sides both had a strong showing in the first half

The Canadian women's national soccer team became Olympic gold medalists after winning a dramatic penalty-kick shootout in the final against Sweden. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in regulation and were unable to break through during two periods of extra time. Stina Blackstenius scored in regulation for Sweden, and Jessie Fleming converted a penalty kick for the equalizer.

The two sides both had a strong showing in the first half, as each team spent time in each other's half, though Sweden did far more with their opportunities in the final third. Blackstenius broke the deadlock in the 34th minute, as the Europeans led Canada in total shots (11-3), despite splitting possession at 50%.

Canada's opportunity to equalize came way via penalty as Swedish defender Amanda Lestedt made contact on Christine Sinclair inside the box and VAR confirmed the foul. Fleming converted the penalty in the 67th minute, as Canada remained active in front of goal during stoppage time of regulation.

Fatigue settled in each during the two halves of extra time, and substitutions nearly made the difference as Deanne Rose and Jordyn Huitema had chances for Canada and Lina Hurtig nearly connected on set pieces for Sweden, but the game headed to penalties to determine the gold medal.

Gold medal drama
Sweden entered the gold medal match unbeaten in their Tokyo campaign and winners of five consecutive matches ahead of the Olympic final. In the build-up to the final, the team did not need penalty kicks to decide any of their knockout stage games. Canada's journey to the gold medal match presented narrow draws, extra-time scenarios, and penalty kicks.

As the two Olympic finalists traded makes and misses (both teams missed three consecutive spot kicks at one point), and each keeper made saves. Candian keeper Stephanie Labbé made a huge save on Sweden's Andersson, and Julia Grosso converted her attempt to give Canada the Olympic gold for the first time in their history.

A gold medal for Canada's captain
christine-sinclair.jpg

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Sinclair, the all-time leading goal scorer in international soccer, made her exit in the gold medal match during regulation in the 87th minute to make way for Huitema and was unavailable for penalty kick selection.

The longtime captain missed a penalty kick earlier in the knockout stage, and when penalty opportunities were presented to Canada in the semifinal and gold medal final, her leadership came into play, collecting the ball and passing it off to Fleming to convert. The 23-year-old midfielder executed each time on her penalties during the Olympics.

For the 38-year-old Sinclair, this was possibly her final game for Canada in a major tournament, capping off a historic international career with an Olympic gold medal to go along with her two bronze medals from the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games.

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