(WFI) The USA successfully defended their Olympic women’s football title with a 2-1 win over World Cup champions Japan thanks to a brace from Carli Lloyd.
US President Barack Obama paid tribute the women’s team after they claimed their third successive Olympic football title.
“We have to give a special shout out to the women’s soccer team today avenging the loss in the World Cup,” Obama was quoted by AFP as saying during a visit to the US Olympic Committee’s training center in Colorado.
Lloyd headed in a cross from Alex Morgan in the eighth minute. Lloyd
added another in the 54th minute, her fourth goal of the tournament, a
shot from inside the penalty area after taking the ball all the way from
Yuki Ogimi of Japan cut the American lead in the 63rd minute, but Japan fell short of equalising in the rematch of last year’s Women’s World Cup.
“We were not going to come home without that gold medal around our necks,” Lloyd said.
“We had to fight so hard for this. We have to give full respect to Japan but this was our day. Dreams can happen. I just can’t wait to come home and see my family and friends now.”
“We started well and scored early but after that we were way too conservative and a lot of credit to Japan, because the way they played, they kept possession and had a good tempo, they forced us to change our game plan,” said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage.
The 80,203 attendance for Wembley Stadium surpassed the 76,481 Olympic record from Atlanta 1996 when
US won the first women’s football gold medal over China.
It was also the biggest Olympics attendance for women’s football at London 2012, topping the 70,584 who watched Britain beat Brazil at Wembley.
US captain Christie Rampone won her third gold medal.
“My players did very well, our goal was to be champions, but the result was not what we expected,” said coach Norio Sasaki.
“But I am still very proud of them.”
“We could not get the gold medal, but a silver medal is very valuable,” Ogimi said.
In the earlier bronze medal match, France outplayed and outshot a tired-looking Canada, until the waning moments of stoppage time when Sophie Schmidt set-up Diana Matheson’s medal-winning goal inside the French penalty area.
The win was historic as Canada broke a 76-year summer Olympics team sports drought that reached back to Berlin 1936 when men’s basketball won silver.
The win was partial redemption for Canada’s 4-3 extra time loss in the Monday semifinal to the US. Canada hosts the next Women’s World Cup in 2015.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter was booed and jeered by the crowd prior to the medal ceremony, a mark of his lowly reputation in Britain after England missed out on hosting the 2018 World Cup amid a string of bribery allegations.
Blatter also remains unpopular because the organization he leads has been plagued by corruption during his time in office, especially over the last two years.
Blatter appeared delighted with the outcome of the women’s tournament.
He tweeted: “Remarkable night at Wembley yesterday: an outstanding match (congrats @ussoccer_wnt) & over 80,000 fans. Phenomenal”.
By INSIDER’s Bob Mackin
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