Sweden are through to the gold medal match at the Tokyo Olympics, after beating Australia 1-0 in the semi-finals.
The European nation will face Canada in the final, after they saw off USA in the earlier last-four clash.
Despite a positive start to the game from Sweden, who were silver medallists at Rio five years ago, it was Australia who had the better of the first half and they would have felt aggrieved to not be ahead at the break, even after Fridolina Rolfo hit the crossbar from a thunderous drive from range.
Hayley Raso was a big threat throughout for the Matildas – driving her team forward with regularity down the wing despite sustaining a hand injury after a fall – but it was top scorer Sam Kerr who was the focus of their attacks. Kerr it was who had the first real opening for Australia when she rounded goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, who had come racing out to the edge of her area, but Kerr’s first touch took her wide and she couldn’t find the cut-back to Tameka Yallop thereafter.
Alanna Kennedy’s free-kick was then sent curling over the wall a few minutes before half-time, but Lindahl tipped the effort over and the subsequent corner saw a header blocked too. Australia kept pushing for the opener before the break and Kerr thought she had it as she volleyed in a clipped free-kick delivery at the near post, but the whistle had already gone for a foul among the melee of players behind her.
Another Kerr glancing header and Yallop’s fierce drive from the edge of the box, the former just wide and the latter flying over, saw Australia pile on the pressure – but Sweden withstood the barrage until the break and immediately opened the scoring themselves after the restart.
A long-range shot deflected up onto the crossbar and caused a mix-up in the box, with Rolfo following in smartly to hook the ball into the far post.
Sweden enjoyed a period of control after the goal as they sought to slow down the match, but Australia rallied after a triple substitution after the hour mark.
One of those changes, Mary Fowler, went close with an effort soon after, while Steph Catley crashed in a near-post effort which was well beaten away by Lindahl.
Australia needed an 89th-minute equaliser against Great Britain in the quarter-finals to force extra time and, ultimately, proceed victorious, but they couldn’t find the same late impact against Sweden, who will now look to go one better than five years ago on Friday in Tokyo.
For the Matildas, who ended with 10 players after a last-second red card for Ellie Carpenter, it’s the bronze-medal match and a clash against United States instead a day earlier.
Source: Read Full Article