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Germany wins first Olympic women’s soccer gold medal

Despite a late response from Sweden, Germany held on for a 2-1 win

Dzsenifer Marozsan led Germany to its first gold medal in the program’s history in a 2-1 victory against Sweden at the Maracana on Friday evening. Marozsan scored a gorgeous goal in the 48th minute before her free kick just over an hour into the match led to Sweden conceding an own goal.

After drawing ire in this tournament for its defensive-minded tactics, many still expected Sweden to sit back and let the game go into extra time and penalty kicks. While the Swedes were a bit more adventurous tonight, they did continue to stay defensive-minded until Germany’s first goal.

In a common theme for the night, the Germans failed to put away several of their promising opportunities. Early in the match, Melanie Leupolz missed her shot and then Anja Mittag also missed an easy tap-in in the 25th minute.

Marozsan opened the scoring three minutes after the half with a curling finish from the top of the box that spliced through two Swedish defenders and went just beyond the reach of Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.

In the 62nd minute, Germany doubled their lead thanks to an own goal from Linda Sembrant. Marozsan sent in a free kick from 20 yards out that hit the left post before bouncing out into the goalmouth where Sembrant, running in to clear it, tapped it into the goal.

After the second goal, Sweden became much more offensive and also searched for a goal off a counter attack. Five minutes after conceding the own goal, Sweden sprang forward to get within a goal. Kosovare Asllani played Olivia Schough into space on the right side of the box, and Schough’s low pass found Stina Blackstenius sliding between two defenders as she slipped a ball past German keeper Almuth Schult from close range.

Sweden continued to increase their pressure on Germany and both sides nearly scored another goal as the game to a close. Marozsan missed her shot in the 85th minute and Schough nearly scored the equalizer shortly thereafter. Germany kept springing forward to try and score a third goal while struggling defensively to close out the win.

Nonetheless, Germany was victorious in the end and head coach Silvia Neid earned her first and last Olympic title before she retires after the tournament. Germany joins the United States and Norway as the only countries with a gold medal in women’s soccer.