Five years after they were resigned to silver in the Rio 2016 final, Sweden's women's soccer team will get another opportunity to play for the gold medal in Tokyo after defeating Australia 1-0 in the second of two Monday semifinals.
The Swedes dismissed the Aussies for the second time in the Olympic tournament following a 4-2 victory in Group G on July 24. They advance to a Aug. 6 encounter with Canada, after the North American nation upset its neighbors, the United States, in the earlier semifinal matchup.
Tournament victories over the U.S. are one thing both finalists will have in common. Sweden stunned the U.S. Women’s National Team 3-0 in their Olympic opener.
Australia and the United States will play for bronze on Aug. 5.
Fridolina Rolfo produced the deciding goal in the first minute after halftime, punishing an error by Australian goalkeeper Teagan Micah.
Micah was unable to deal with an awkward bouncing pass from Sweden midfielder Filippa Angeldal, managing only to tip it onto the crossbar and back into the middle of the box, where Rolfo pounced for the open-net goal.
The Swedes were happy to cede the majority of possession to Australia after taking the lead, defending with purpose in front of goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl. Australia finished with 57 percent possession and the lead in shots with 14, but only three were on frame. Sam Kerr, who entered the match with five Olympic goals, was held largely in check by Sweden defenders.
In the closing seconds of the match, Swedish substitute Lina Hurtig received a pass in on goal behind the remnants of the Australian defense and seemed certain to score Sweden’s second goal. In an act of frustration, Australian defender Ellie Carpenter dragged Hurtig to the ground from behind, drawing a straight red card and a suspension for the bronze medal game against the U.S.
Australia is already guaranteed its best finish at a major international competition, but will look to deny the U.S. an Olympic medal for the second straight Games. Sweden eliminated the Americans in the quarterfinals of the Rio 2016 tournament to send them home without hardware for the first time ever.