The Canadian women’s soccer team defeated top-ranked United States 1-0 in the semifinals Monday to advance to the gold medal game at the Tokyo Olympics.
Jessie Fleming scored the game’s lone goal from the penalty spot in the 74th minute after Deanna Rose was fouled in the penalty box.
“All credit to the players, they left everything out there,” said Canada head coach Bev Priestman. “It meant so much to them to get to this final. I think you saw that in the shift that they’ve put in. There’s some veterans on this team that still feel that hurt from London 2012.
“I’m over the moon for that group of players to get that, and someone like Christine now gets to go to an Olympic final, they’ve done so much for the program. For us, we were clear, we wanted to change the colour of the medal. Winners win and we’re going into that final to get a gold medal. “
Canada famously lost 4-3 to the United States in the 2012 London Olympics semifinals. And some Canada fans and players believe they would have won that game had it not been for some controversial officiating.
But Monday’s victory will go some way to healing that hurt, according to Canada captain Christine Sinclair.
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“What a performance, what a fight, I’m just so proud of our team, and one more to go,” said Sinclair. “For those of us who were part of 2012, it was nice to get a little revenge in an Olympic Semi-finals. This is a very unique and special group, one I’m very proud to be part of, we fight for everything.
“Job one is done for us, changing the colour of the medal, but now that we’re in the final, we go for it. This tournament is gruelling, that’s why I’m proud that we have 22 players strong that can step on the field and make a difference and they have this tournament.”
Canada play Sweden in the gold medal game Thursday.