One of Sweden or Canada will win be crowned Olympic champions in women’s football for the first time when the countries meet in the gold medal match in Tokyo this week.
Each have won Olympic medals in the recent past. Sweden took silver in 2016, while Canada went home with bronze in both 2012 and 2016, but neither has ever won gold. That will now change.
Both have beaten the United States to get to the gold medal match, with Sweden embarrassing the pre-tournament favourites in their opening group game and Canada ending a 20-year wait for a win over their southern neighbours at the semi-final stage.
Sweden were the only team to win all of their group games and have seen off both Japan and Australia in the knockout rounds without the need for extra-time.
Canada haven’t had as smooth a ride to the final, winning only one of their three group games and drawing the other two, before emerging victorious over Brazil on penalties in the quarter-finals, before their momentous 1-0 win over the United States in the last round.
When is kick off? Friday 6 August – 11.00am (Japan); 3.00am (UK); 10.00pm* (USA – EDT)
Where is the match being played? National Stadium, Tokyo
What TV channel is it on? Eurosport 2/Eurosport Player; USA Network; fubo TV
*Thursday 5 August
Sweden: Lindahl; Glas, Ilestedt, Bjorn, Eriksson; Angeldal, Seger, Asllani; Jakobsson, Blackstenius, Rolfo
Canada: Labbe; Chapman, Buchanan, Lawrence, Gilles; Quinn, Scott, Sinclair, Fleming; Beckie, Prince
Sweden dominate the historic record between these two, claiming 14 wins to Canada’s five in 23 previous meetings, with four others ending all square.
The most recent encounter was at the 2019 Algarve Cup, which finished 0-0 after 120 minutes and was edged on penalties by Canada. Many of the players involved then will be involved again here.
Sweden won 3-1 in a 2018 Algarve Cup match, but Canada’s last non-penalties win in this fixture was back in 2014.
Despite the presence of evergreen captain and all-time world international leading goalscorer Christine Sinclair, Canada’s strength has long been defensive resilience that often makes them difficult to beat.
They don’t often score a lot of goals to win games, especially against quality opponents like Sweden, and will rely first and foremost on defence if they are to prevail, while even Sinclair has lined up in a deeper role than usual in both knockout matches so far.
Sweden have successfully navigated their way through the tournament so far, although it hasn’t always been as plain sailing as their comprehensive opening win against the United States.
They were made to work for their win against Australia in the group stage and Japan in the quarter-finals, while it was only a narrow win over Australia in the semis.
Prediction: Sweden 2-1 Canada