Jessie Fleming scored the winner to send Canada into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic final, where she will come up against her Swedish Chelsea team-mates Magdalena Eriksson, Jonna Andersson and Zecira Musovic after they defeated Australia.
The first semi-final took place this morning with Chelsea midfielder Fleming and Canada winning 1-0 to knock out top-ranked United States. The second semi followed with Sweden sealing a spot in the final courtesy of a narrow 1-0 success over Sam Kerr’s Australia.
The final takes place this Friday 6 August, kick-off 3am UK time.
United States 0 Canada 1
Fleming played in the centre of midfield for Canada, and she helped eliminate their North American neighbours and the reigning world champions after scoring a penalty in the 75th minute. They advance to their first-ever Olympic final.
It was a cagey first half at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium with the blistering Japanese heat making it difficult for both teams, but Fleming’s second-half goal proved to be the difference.
The Canadians were awarded a spot-kick after USA defender Tierna Davidson committed a foul on forward Deanne Rose inside the box. The referee swiftly reviewed and confirmed the penalty call by using VAR.
The Chelsea No.17 stepped up for her country and confidently lashed her penalty high into the net beyond Adrianna Franch. The Canadians saw out the semi-final by defending resolutely to beat the USA for the first time in 20 years.
Australia 0 Sweden 1
The latter semi-final took place at the same stadium with Australia coming up against Sweden for the second time in this tournament. The Scandinavians defeated the Matildas to advance to the final, with the hope now of going one step further than winning silver at Rio 2016 by becoming Olympic champions.
Kerr captained Australia and Eriksson started at left-back for Sweden. Andersson featured in added time while goalkeeper Musovic was not named in the today’s match squad.
Kerr, who scored a brace in their previous encounter at the group stage, had a goal disallowed on the brink of half-time. Arsenal’s Steph Cately delivered a delightful free-kick for the Australian forward to volley past former Chelsea goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, but the referee blew her whistle just as she pulled the trigger after spotting interference off the ball in the box.
Sweden came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and broke the deadlock in the 46th minute when Fridolina Rolfo of Barcelona pounced on a loose ball that had been pushed away by Matildas keeper Teagan Micah.
Kerr had a good opportunity to level the scoring less than 10 minutes later when she rose highest to meet a cross from the left flank, but she directed her header far too close to Lindahl to cause any real trouble.
Despite Australia giving it their all to reach their first Olympic games final, the experienced Swedish side had done enough to reach their sixth in 37 years.
Kerr and Australia still have a shot of silverware and will play for the bronze medal against the United States on Thursday 5 August. Kick-off is at 9am.
There is then a guaranteed gold medal for a Chelsea player the next morning!