Germany assured themselves a fourth Olympic medal and the first one higher than bronze with a sharp, 2-0 victory over Canada in Tuesday’s semifinal. The two-time World Cup champions will now play fellow European side Sweden for gold and an opportunity to send head coach Sylvia Neid out a champion from her final tournament at the helm.
After struggling to create chances throughout the early part of the tournament, the Germans played their most fluid match so far and went ahead from the spot after 21 minutes. After Anja Mittag did some great work to keep the ball through midfield she sent a diagonal ball for Alexandra Popp. Kadeisha Buchanan closed down Popp and made a reckless challenge in the box that put Germany of the spot and Buchanan in the book.
Melanie Behringer, who scored Germany’s quarterfinal goal, calmly stepped up and converted.
Canada came close to drawing level before halftime and it was Buchanan who almost nailed an equalizer. Janine Beckie sent a corner kick to the far post where Buchanan sent it back towards the near post. Only the fundamental positioning of Tabea Kemme saved the goal and the clock hit 45:00 as Kemme’s header sent the ball out of danger.
After Canada keeper Stephanie Labbe made a strong save in the opening minute of the second half, her teammates pushed the issue in the German third until a counter attack dropped them two goals down in the 59th minute. Again it was Mittag holding possession and again it was a mistake from Buchanan who dropped off and allowed Mittag the space to find Sara Daebritz. The 21-year-old midfielder unleashed a perfectly placed shot that beat Labbe to the near post to make it 2-0.
German keeper Almuth Schult played a strong game at her end including a point-blank save on Diana Matheson late that would have sliced the lead in half and made for a frantic few minutes at the end. Canada never could get on the board though and as a result will play Brazil for the bronze medal while Germany aims for the top of the podium.
There were some German injury reports. Dzsenifer Marozsan was replaced at halftime due to a muscle issue and Melanie Leupolz limped off gingerly in the final moments before the full time whistle. Alexandra Popp has also been caught up in multiple rough tackles during the Games.
German comms saying Dzsenifer Marozsán was taken off at half-time with a muscle problem.
— Barça Women (@BarcaWomen) August 16, 2016
Germany have now medaled in their last four trips to the Olympics. They won bronze in 2000, 2004, and 2008 before getting left out in 2012 when their shock 2011 World Cup quarterfinal exit clashed with UEFA’s awkward qualifying process.
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