Canada shocked the USWNT in the Olympics semifinals as the USA’s bid for Gold was ended in Kashima.
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Jessie Fleming’s penalty kick with 15 minutes to go was the only goal of the game, as it was awarded via VAR for a foul by Tierna Davidson which the USWNT were far from happy about.
The victory for Canada was their first against the USWNT in 20 years and they will now compete in the Gold medal match after a famous win.
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Vlatko Andonovski’s USWNT will now play in the Bronze medal match on Thursday, as the reigning World Cup champions have a chance to leave Japan with a medal.
But, in truth, they’ve never quite been at their best throughout this tournament and failed to score in three of their five games at the Olympic. Those offensive issues are what cost the USWNT in the end.
3 things we learned
1. VAR penalty kick was correct call: It will hurt the USWNT to lose like this but they can have no complaints. Rose got in front of Davidson and was kicked from behind. Had she not been kicked, she would have got the ball and been in on goal, albeit from a tight angle. VAR was used and it did its job. Simple.
2. Both teams lacked energy: The first shot on target came in the 65th minute and that summed up the game. Both teams went to extra time in the quarterfinals and you could tell. There were some very tired players out there and even though the USWNT had more energy off the bench, Canada dug deep in a tight, even and chippy game.
3. Chippy Canada set the tempo: There is a lot of history between these two teams (ignited by the epic encounter at the 2012 Olympics) and Canada was allowed to set the tone with plenty of fouls throughout. The USWNT committed lots of fouls too and the tempo of the game was disjointed throughout. That suited Canada extremely well.
Player of the Match: Julie Ertz – She was everywhere and tried to get the USWNT on the front foot, but her teammates couldn’t make the most of the balls she won.
The USWNT started well and pressed high down the flanks but Canada stood firm and grew into the game.
After winning a lot of corners, Canada caused problems with high crosses into the box and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was hurt as she came to collect a cross but collided with Julie Ertz and twisted her knee.
After carrying on after a lengthy delay, Naeher then signalled to come off after taking a goal kick as AD Franch replaced her in goal.
The USWNT had a few half chances from crosses as Alex Morgan flicked wide, but the first half was a battle with very little attacking chances for either team.
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In the second half the U.S. came out with renewed impetus and caused Canada problems with crosses into the box but the game continued to be disjointed with both sets of players looking tired.
A triple sub for the USWNT saw Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press all come on and Lloyd forced Labbe to push over the first shot on target of the match.
That shot came in the 65th minute.
Labbe then denied Julie Ertz’s header moments later after Rapinoe’s corner found her at the near post. Then came the pivotal moment.
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Just when the USWNT were dominating, Canada won a penalty kick via VAR.
Rose ran into the box and Tierna Davidson kicked Rose’s leg as she tried to clear, as the USWNT conceded a penalty kick with 15 minutes to go.
Jessie Fleming slotted home the spot kick past Franch to give Canada a shock lead.
Late on the USWNT threw everything at Canada as Lloyd hit the crossbar with a powerful header, but that was as close as it got as Canada held on for a famous win.