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Julia Grosso scores game-winner in PKs to give Canada first Olympic gold

Francois Nel/Getty Images

Canada women’s soccer made history on Friday in Tokyo, winning its first Olympic gold medal in a thrilling shootout win over Sweden.

The game ended in regulation tied at one after Canada’s defense prevented Sweden from converting on multiple quality scoring chances. Neither team scored in 30 minutes of extra time, sending the game to penalty kicks.

There, Canada went up one before missing the net on its next three shots, allowing Sweden to take a 2-1 lead. Canada’s next two shots, including 20-year-old Julia Grosso’s game-winner, sealed the victory for Canada, 3-2 on penalty kicks.

Grosso, who was just 11 years old when Christine Sinclair led Canada to the bronze medal in 2012 with one of the greatest performances of all time, now joins the 38-year-old on Canada’s first Olympic gold medal-winning team. And Sinclair, the leading international goal scorer with 187 goals, can add the top Olympic prize to her legendary resume.

Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe was just as valuable to the team’s gold-medal run, allowing just four goals in six matches. Her play was especially critical since Canada scored no goals in the run of play during the knockout stage.

Jessie Fleming scored Canada’s lone goal during regulation Friday, converting a penalty kick in the 67th minute after Sinclair was taken down in the box. Fleming’s finish drew Canada even with Sweden after striker Stina Blackstenius struck first in the 34th minute. That score held until the final shootout.

The victory is Canada’s first in any major tournament.