Germany down Sweden to claim Olympic gold

Germany enjoyed another memorable night at the Maracana as the women's football team overcame surprise packages Sweden 2-1 to become Olympic champions for the first time.

Germany Sweden Olympics

Germany players celebrate after winning Olympic goal at the Maracana Source: Getty Images

Two years on from Joachim Low's men winning a fourth FIFA World Cup in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, the women's side returned to the cavernous stadium looking for silverware of their own.

Sweden stood in their way after overcoming hosts Brazil on penalties at the semi-final juncture - the same way they edged past reigning champions USA, whose goalkeeper Hope Solo labelled them 'cowards'.

That description looked all the more laughable in a hard-fought gold medal match, with Germany edging out 2-1 winners through Dzsenifer Marozsan's fine effort and a Linda Sembrant own goal.

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Both came early in the second half at an impressively-full Maracana, where Sweden were unable to add another after substitute Stina Blackstenius reduced the deficit as Germany gave outgoing coach Silvia Neid the perfect send off.

Furthermore, it means the football double is on as the German men's team face Neymar-inspired Brazil - a clash that brings back painful memories of the 7-1 semi-final mauling of 2014.

The hosts may still be brooding and bruised after that FIFA World Cup loss but there was little ill-feeling towards Germany, aside from expressions of frustration at the slow pace of an attritional and uninspiring first half.

Well-organised Sweden pressed hard from the outset with only the odd lapse at the back, with Anja Mittag forcing an unconvincing save out of Hedvig Lindahl.

Melanie Leupolz powered a close-range header over before Mittag inexplicably missed in a frustrating opening period for Germany, who were threatened by Sweden's star turn Lotta Schelin and Lisa Dahlkvist.

A moment of magic was desperately needed and it arrived three minutes after the break, with Marozsan taking a touch before beautifully curling home from the edge of the box - a strike befitting of the stage.

It lifted the pressure and Germany continued to push, fortuitously adding a second as a free-kick came off the post and Sembrant turned into her own goal.

However, the battling spirit Sweden have become synonymous with in Brazil was evident minutes later as substitute Blackstenius reduced the deficit.

Alexandra Popp wasted a great chance to restore a two-goal cushion but Sweden pushed right until the last cheered on by the locals.

The Scandinavian side settled for silver, though, as Germany were crowned Olympic champions.


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3 min read
Published 20 August 2016 at 9:01am
By Simon Peach
Source: PA Sport