Canada claims gold in Olympic women’s soccer after defeating Sweden in final

Julia Grosso scored the clinching penalty kick as Canada defeated Sweden to capture the country's first Olympic gold medal in women's soccer.

After a golden goal from Julia Grosso, a clutch performance from Stephanie Labbé, and the culmination of a legendary career from Christine Sinclair, Canadian soccer can now call itself a champion on the world stage.

Courtesy of a thrilling, tumultuous victory over Sweden in Friday's final, the Canadian women's soccer team earned its first ever Olympic gold medal, building on the progress made with a pair of bronzes claimed at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

It took a slaying of old rivals and a nail-biting fight to the finish to finally earn the gold.

That journey to new territory started in the semifinal against Team USA, when a late goal from Jessie Fleming lifted Canada into the gold-medal match and simultaneously snapped a 37-game, 20-year winless streak against their American rivals.

It continued in Friday's final, as Canada was forced to fight back from a 1-0 deficit following an early Sweden goal. They found an opening to pull level when Sinclair, the greatest soccer player Canada has ever produced, forced a penalty kick — originally missed but confirmed by VAR — after being brought down in the box.

Fleming played the hero again, surgical in that all-important moment as she scored the penalty and knotted the match up at 1-1.

But the stalemate endured as 90 minutes expired, and again through extra time, pushing the two clubs and their nervous nations to penalties.

Fleming opened Canada's spot-kicks bid with another bit of precision. But with Ashley Lawrence, Vanessa Gillies and Adriana Leon unable to convert, the Canadians fell behind, giving Swedish captain Caroline Seger a chance to clinch the gold with one flutter of the twine.

She put her golden opportunity over the bar, giving Canada life.

Deanne Rose stepped up next, fearlessly answering right back with a top-corner stunner to pull the Canadians back to level ground, shifting the competition to sudden death.

Then it was Labbé's turn — the veteran keeper dove to deny a bid from Jonna Andersson, gifting Grosso a chance to make history with her left foot.

She did just that, and in doing so, made champions of her fellow Canadians for the first time in Olympic history.

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