Canada shock USA to reach Olympic women's football final

Canada's Jessie Fleming (C) celebrates after scoring the winning goal against the USA. AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi

TOKYO - Jessie Fleming scored a second-half penalty as Canada stunned four-time Olympic women's football champions the United States 1-0 Monday to reach the final for the first time.

Fleming's nerveless 74th-minute spot-kick earned Canada a first win over their neighbours since 2001 and set up a clash with Sweden, who beat Australia 1-0 in the second semi-final.

Defeat ended the Americans' 36-match unbeaten run against Canada. The world champions will face Australia for the consolation of a bronze medal.

"It sucks, obviously, you never want to lose," said US forward Megan Rapinoe.

"You never want to lose, you never want to lose in a world championship, you never want to lose to Canada, obviously, and you never want to lose playing the way we did."

"There's 100 things we'd all want to do better. I think that's the most frustrating thing for all of us," she added. "It's a tough one to swallow."

The US and Canada combined for seven goals the last time they met at the Olympics, a memorable 4-3 semi-final win for the US after extra time at Old Trafford in 2012.

Canada ultimately finished with bronze nine years ago and ended third at Rio 2016 as well. 

"There's some veterans on the team that still feel that hurt from 2012. I'm just over the moon for that group of players," said Canada coach Bev Priestman.

"Winners win and we're going into this final to absolutely go and get a gold medal."


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