Sweden has run through its opposition in the Olympic women’s soccer tournament, outscoring opponents 13-3 on its way to winning all five matches thus far. That makes the Swedes a clear favorite heading into the gold medal match against a strong Canadian squad on Friday.
Olympic officials moved the gold medal game from 11 am local time to 9 pm after both teams expressed concerns over playing in the midday heat.
Women’s soccer final moves to Yokohama
Organizers also moved the game out of Tokyo. “In order to continue to provide the best possible conditions for the players, and having taken into consideration the impact of weather conditions at the Olympic Stadium over the last few days, it has been confirmed that this match will now take place at 21:00 at the International Stadium Yokohama,” Tokyo Olympics organizers said in a statement.
Both teams applauded the decision.
“I know this group is so good at adapting, so we were ready for the 11 am kickoff,” Canadian midfielder Ashley Lawrence told reporters. “But I think it’s great that we can play at 9 pm. Just with the weather and for both teams, it’s going to make for a better game.”
Canada advanced to the gold medal game by beating the United States 1-0 in the semifinals. The Canadians are now guaranteed their third straight medal after winning bronze in both 2012 and 2016. The 2012 bronze came after a controversial 4-3 loss to the Americans in another semifinal clash.
“For those of us that were part of the 2012 team, it’s nice to get a little revenge in an Olympic semifinal,” Canada’s Christine Sinclair said after the win.
Sweden enters gold medal match as favorite
Sweden also advanced to the final with a 1-0 win, beating Australia to reach the gold medal match. The Swedes also beat Australia 4-2 in a group stage game earlier in the tournament.
|Olympic Women’s Soccer Odds – Gold Medal Match (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Sweden: -260||Canada: +215|
Fridolina Rolfo scored the only goal of that semifinal matchup, hitting the net just one minute into the second half to decide the game. Sweden clinched its first Olympic media in women’s soccer with the victory.
Like Canada, Sweden had argued for a later start time for the final, and the team supported the move to the evening.
“It’s not just a good decision, it’s a very, very, very, very, very good decision,” Swedish manager Peter Gerhardsson told reporters.
Sweden enters the gold medal game as a -260 favorite over Canada (+215), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. In the bronze medal match, the United States held off Australia 4-3 to leave Tokyo with a place on the podium.
Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd each scored twice for Team USA. Yet there were still tense moments at the end of regulation play after Emily Gielnik scored in the 90th minute, pulling Australia back within a goal. In the end, the Americans survived through added time and secured a medal.