The United States claimed their third successive Olympic gold medal this morning (Australian time) with a 2 – 1 win over Japan in front of an Olympic record Wembley crowd of 80,203.
USA win gold again | Getty
US midfielder Carli Lloyd continued her excellent Olympic final goal scoring brace with a match winning brace including a 20 yard stunner in the second half.
The USA started the match brightly and opened the scoring in the 8th minute. Tobin Heath played in Alex Morgan with the striker’s cross well met by Lloyd from six yards out.
Despite being on the back foot early, the world champions worked their way in to the match before creating a string of chances to equalise. Nahomi Kawasumi’s goal ward bound shot was cleared of the line by USA captain Christine Rampone.
Shortly with a Kawasumi cross was well headed by Yuki Ogimi forcing a Hope Solo to tip the powerful header onto the crossbar.
After soaking up the pressure, the US went close to claiming a two goal buffer when Azusa Iwashimizu almost produced an own goal. Minutes later Japan again hit the woodwork as Shinobu Ohno teed up Aya Miyama. With Solo beaten, the Japanese captain saw her strike rattle the cross bar and four minutes later another Miyama strike sailed just wide of the upright.
The second half started as it ended with Japan controlling proceedings but a moment of individual brilliance from Lloyd extended the American’s lead as she unleashed on the edge of the box for a stunning brace.
Down by two, life was breathed into Japan’s campaign when sloppy American defending was punished by their lethal strike duo of Ohno and Ogimi with the latter tapping home from close range.
Rachel Buehler nearly restored the advantage from close range. In the closing minutes both teams went close to adding to their scoreline. First with Lloyd almost securing a hattrick with her strike sailing just over the cross bar. Then Mana Iwabuchi dipossessed Rampone before being brought unstuck by an excellent Solo save. But it was not to be for the Japanese with the United States claiming their fourth (of five) Olympic title.
In the bronze medal match a last gasp winner from Diana Matheson saw Canada snatch an improbable 1 – 0 win over a dominant French outfit.
With both sides ruing the a missed opportunity to play off the gold medal, it was a tame opening 45 minutes. Canada managed the best chance as they took advantage of a miscalculated claim from French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi. Christine Sinclair found a pocket of space in the box only to be quickly closed down.
The second half opened up considerably with France playing their now trademark fluid football. The talismanic Louisa Necib went close to the opener as her deflected shot forced a good save from Erin McLeod.
On top in general play, France looked to press home the advantage with substitutes Camille Abily and Eugenie Le Sommer in the thick of the action.
The result was several rapid fire chances. The pacy Elodie Thomis struck the crossbar with Necib goal ward shot from the rebound deflect wide. Then Le Sommer and Abily combined well with the latter also meeting the resistance of the post. Le Sommer and defender Corine Franco both went close first with the striker firing over and then with Franco seeing her ball cleared off the line by Desiree Scott.
With two minutes additional time left, Canada made the decisive move. A scramble in the 6 yard area saw the loose ball fall to Matheson at the back post with the midfielder side footing home to give Canada their first Olympic medal.