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Olympic Soccer 2021: USWNT Loses in Semifinal; Canada vs. Sweden Final Set

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 2, 2021

United States' Carli Lloyd reacts after being defeated 1-0 by Canada during a women's semifinal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Kashima, Japan. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

The United States women's national soccer team suffered its first loss to Canada in 20 years on Monday morning. 

The loss took the Americans out of gold-medal contention at the Tokyo Olympics. They will play Australia for the bronze medal. 

Canada, who won back-to-back bronze medals, will take on Sweden for first place in the tournament. Both squads will be after their first-ever gold medal in women's soccer. 

Sweden made the gold-medal match five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, but it came up short against Germany.

The Swedes produced their fifth victory in five games in the second semifinal against Australia thanks to an early goal in the second half. 

       

Canada 1, United States 0

Canada finally got the best of its biggest rival after a 20-year wait. 

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The Canadians used a 75th-minute penalty from Jessie Fleming to earn the advantage over the USWNT that would put them into the gold-medal match. 

Canada was awarded the penalty after a VAR review revealed that USWNT defender Tierna Davidson made contact with Deanne Rose's leg while going for a ball on the right side of the box. 

Fleming stepped up to the spot after the review and sent her penalty into the upper corner of the net past Adrianna Franch.

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

Canada converts the penalty to take the lead. #TokyoOlympics https://t.co/r856yMXjIb

Franch was in net for the USWNT because starter Alyssa Naeher suffered a leg injury in the first half. Naeher went up in the air for a ball, collided with Julie Ertz and landed awkwardly on her leg. Naeher was seen on crutches at the end of the match. 

The USWNT looked disjointed in attack for a majority of the contest. It created few significant chances that tested Stephanie Labbe. The Canadian goalkeeper's biggest save came on a headed attempt from Carli Lloyd in the 86th minute. 

Vlatko Andonovski's USWNT attempted 13 shots, but only four of them went on frame. That low total came in a match in which it took 12 corner kicks. 

Megan Rapinoe said after the match that the USWNT just did not have enough to earn a result on Monday, per ESPN.com.

"That's football. They got, I think, one shot on goal, a PK, and from what it sounds like it was a PK. So yeah, it's a bitter one to swallow. Obviously, we never want to lose to Canada. I don't think I've ever lost to Canada," Rapinoe said. 

"So it's a bitter one. Obviously there's still a lot to compete for. That's what I told the girls and what we talked about in the huddle. It's not the color we want, but there's still a medal on the line. That's a huge thing and we want to win that game, but yeah, this is ... this sucks. It sucks."

The United States will go for its sixth-ever medal in seven Olympic women's soccer tournaments in the bronze-medal match versus Australia.

         

Sweden 1, Australia 0

Sweden continued its perfect run through the Olympic tournament with a one-goal victory over Australia. 

Fridolina Rolfo provided the lone goal of the contest in the 46th minute at the end of a frenetic sequence near the left post. 

The initial ball played in from outside the box bounced off the top of the bar and landed with Stina Blackstenius. 

Blackstenius dropped the ball back to Rolfo, who had a better angle to shoot on the net. Rolfo struck the back of the net for what turned out to be the lone goal of the match.

Sweden's 1-0 win was the opposite result of the first match played between the two nations in the group stage. Sweden won that matchup by a 4-2 scoreline. 

Sweden has been the best overall team in the Olympic tournament. It swept through its group-stage games with nine points, beat Japan convincingly in the quarterfinal and knocked out Australia in the semifinal round. 

The Swedes have one medal at the Olympics since the women's soccer tournament started in 1996. They took silver in 2016. They finished fourth after a loss in the bronze-medal match to Germany in 2004.   

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