Canada crowned as new champions in an Olympics filled with strategic and technical innovation - Games of the XXXII Olympiad (Tokyo 2020)
09 August 2021
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad (Tokyo 2020) women's football tournament final took place on Friday 6 August to conclude the competition.
Gold Medal: Canada
Silver Medal: Sweden
Bronze Medal: USA
The tournament final between Sweden and Canada was originally scheduled to kick-off on 11:00 at Japan National Stadium, but the fixture was rescheduled to 21:00 at International Stadium Yokohama, in order to avoid the scorching heat. The two sides showcased an intense match that went into overtime before the winner was decided by penalty shoot-out, in which Canada prevailed to claim the gold medal. For Sweden, this was their second straight silver medal at the summer Olympics. USA claimed the bronze medal after defeating Australia 4-3 in the bronze medal match which took place on Thursday 5 August.
The Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women’s National Team) advanced through to the knockout stage after finishing third in their group, as they drew against Canada (1-1), lost to Great Britain (0-1), and won over Chile (1-0). However, the team was eliminated at the quarterfinals after losing to Sweden 1-3.
While women’s football has shown enormous growth in Europe over the recent years, a new champion was crowned from the Concacaf. Led by coach Beverly PRIESTMAN, who took over the helm a year ago, the bronze medallist of the recent two summer Olympics (London 2012 and Rio 2016) brought a team filled with diversity and characters to claim the gold medal. With their defence led by Kadeisha BUCHANAN, who plays for European powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais (France), Christine SINCLAIR drove the offence, as the women’s football legend who marked her 300th cap at this Olympics reflected on their way to winning the gold medal, “Each player did their job and continued to step up. This was certainly a unique team.”
Since taking over the helm in 2017, Sweden’s coach Peter GERHARDSSON has constructed one of the most attack-minded teams in the world. While the Swedish side is capable of utilising their height and speed to initiate effective counterattacks, they can also deploy accurate passing games to create opportunities. The sound fundamental skills of the players enable the team to adapt wide variety of strategies, creating a new style of football that incorporates strategy, technique, and physical strengths all together. Consisting of players playing for big clubs such as FC Barcelona (Spain), FC Bayern Munich (Germany), Paris Saint-Germain FC (France), Chelsea FC (England), Sweden is about to enter their golden age of women’s football.
After winning back to back titles of the FIFA Women's World Cup™ in 2015 and 2019, the USA started off the Tokyo Olympics with a 0-3 loss to Sweden but managed to bounce back to make a deep run. One of the team leaders Carli LLOYD revealed that the players held numerous meetings during the tournament to stay on the same page. Despite losing to Canada in penalty shoot-out at the semi-finals, the team showcased their resilience to win the bronze medal match, with Lloyd and Megan RAPINOE each scoring a brace.
Finishing in fourth place, Australia marked their best finish at the summer Olympics. Despite being placed in the “group of death” along side Sweden and USA, the Australian side managed to advance through to the knockout stage where they defeated Great Britain in overtime at the quarterfinals. After being appointed as the head coach this January, coach Tony GUSTAVSSON strengthened the team through numbers of training matches against the world powerhouses. Similar to the USA, the team consist of players with plenty of caps, including their ace Samantha KERR, making them a crucial opponent in the AFC for Japan.
Many veteran players thrived at this tournament, starting from Canada’s Sinclair (38 years old), USA’s Lloyd (39 years old) and Rapinoe (36 years old), Brazil’s MARTA (35 years old), and Great Britain’s Ellen WHITE (32 years old), liven up the tournament with their technique, critical finishing skills, and mature performance.
Netherlands’ Vivianne MIEDEMA won the golden boot with her 10 goals, breaking the record for most goals in a single Olympic competition.
With the undisputed champions, USA, being brought down, Canada was crowned as the new champions at the Tokyo Olympics. What kind of changes will be brought under this new regime? Let’s stay tuned for what’s to come in the women’s football world.
Games of the XXXII Olympiad (Tokyo 2020)
Football competition: Wed. 21 July - Sat. 7 August 2021
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