Sweden silences Brazil in Olympic women’s football on penalties

Brazil crashed out of the Olympic football women's tournament in the semi-finals on Tuesday when they were beaten by Sweden in a penalty shoot-out at the Maracana Stadium, following a goalless draw.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl made the difference for Sweden as she saved kicks from Cristiane and then Andressa, on Brazil’s fifth kick. Brazil keeper Barbara could save only one, from Kosovare Asllani, meaning Lisa Dahlkvist could slot home the 4-3 winner.

“It was really funny to take the last kick,” Dahlkvist said. “I like it when the competition ends like this and I was just thinking that if I score we will qualify for the final.”

Brazil dominated possession but failed to break through the resolute Swedish defence despite having thrashed them earlier in the group phase.

The Swedes had previously progressed through the quarter-finals in similar fashion, frustrating the United States before winning on penalties. US keeper Hope Solo went as far as calling their approach cowardly but the beaten Brazilians did not go that far.

“Sweden stayed back and played defence with all 11 players in the back,” Barbara said. “Each team works the way they think they must. I wouldn’t call it a cowardly approach, but they only played defence.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to break through. Their strategy worked today, they came out with the win and that’s football.”

Marta, Andressa Alves and Rafaelle all found the net for Brazil in the shoot-out with Lotta Schelin, Caroline Seger and Nilla Fischer doing likewise for Sweden before Dahlkvist settled the tie.

Brazil can still end the long wait for a first Olympic gold medal in football at their home Games as their men remain in the competition and face Honduras in the semi-finals Wednesday.

Sweden are now guaranteed at least a silver for their first-ever medal in women’s football and face Germany in Friday’s Maracana final.

“There is crazy stuff going on in the dressing room,” said coach Pia Sundhage, who led the US to gold in 2012. “The fact that we have done something the Swedish national team have never done before … it’s a big smile.

“But still we are not satisfied as we want to win the next game.”

Germany, who won three consecutive bronzes between 2000 and 2008, defeated Canada 2-0 in the second semi-final in Mineirao.

Melanie Behringer’s 20th minute penalty and Sara Daebritz’s goal on the hour ensured a comfortable victory.

Canada face Brazil in the bronze medal match Friday in Mineirao.

“Today we are sad because the match has just ended, but there will be no more sadness tomorrow,” Barbara insisted. “We have to get our heads back up, look ahead and go for the next goal, which is the bronze medal.”

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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