Rio de Janeiro: The Swedish women’s football team beat hosts Brazil 4-3 on penalties to reach the Olympic gold medal match for the first time. Most of the 66,000 people who flocked to Rio’s legendary Maracana Stadium for Tuesday’s clash were expecting to see the Brazilian women take another step toward the Olympic triumph that has eluded this football-mad country, reports Efe.
But despite losing 5-1 to Brazil in group play, the Swedes entered Tuesday’s clash with a tried-and-tested plan. Having already toppled the three-time defending champion U.S., also on penalties, the Swedish women followed the same defensive strategy that led American goalkeeper Hope Solo to label them “cowards.” In the first half, Brazil dominated possession 71-29 percent and mustered 15 shots on goal to Sweden’s, a pattern that carried over into the second 45 minutes.
With the scoreboard stuck at 0-0 after regulation and 30 minutes of overtime, Brazil and Sweden went to penalty kicks. Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl, who saw a lot more action during the match, stopped Cristiane and Andressinha, while Brazil’s Barbara thwarted Kosovare Asllani. As in Friday’s contest with the US, Sweden captain Lisa Dahlkvist scored the decisive marker against Brazil, sparking delirium among the handful of Swedish supporters in the stands at Maracana. –IANS
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