Germany have advanced to the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament final inRio 2016 gold medal match.
The Germans handed a 2-0 victory to Canada in the semi-finals at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
The Europeans came back stronger despite losing to the Canadians 2-1 earlier in the tournament’s group stages.
Top goalscorer Melanie Behringer scored from the penalty spot in the 21st minute after Kadeisha Buchanan made a rash challenge on Alexandra Popp in the area to concede the penalty kick.
Sara Daebritz then gave Germany the 2-0 lead in the 59th minute with a low drive on the edge of the Canadian penalty area.
Germany was the dominant side in opening minutes, constantly pressurising Canada, while the North Americans struggled.
The Germans were eventually rewarded for their relentless pressure when Behringer opened the scoring on 21 minutes.
The goal represented her second from the spot against Canada at Rio 2016, her third successive goal and her fifth of the tournament.
However, Buchanan almost made amends for her error right before half-time when she jumped the highest from a cross and headed towards goal.
But Germany’s Tabea Kemme was there to make a goalline clearance with her head.
Daebritz then doubled the Germans’ lead in the 59th minute with a composed finish after a clinical counter attack from Silvia Neid’s side.
The Germans remained resolute in the back despite several shots from Canada, namely Ashley Lawrence and Diane Matheson.
Germany goalkeeper Almuth Schult made the save of the day in the 77th minute from a close-range effort from Matheson.
Schult and her team held on to their two-goal lead and kept their Olympic gold medal dream alive.
It is difficult to imagine a better end to the day than reaching your first Women’s Olympic Football Tournament final in the same match that you win your 100th international cap.
Yet that is exactly what happened to Germany’s Saskia Bartusiak at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday evening.
After Germany defeated Canada 2-0, she could scarcely believe her luck as she celebrated the historic success with her team-mates.
Surely there is no better way to mark your 100th appearance for the national team?
“Definitely! I’ve already been asked about it many times,” said a beaming Bartusiak in an interview with FIFA.com.
“The fact that this match coincided with my 100th cap is just a great coincidence, of course.
“But I’m so excited that we’ve reached the final. I doubt I’ll ever forget this game.”
She inherited the captain’s armband in September 2015 following Nadine Angerer’s international retirement.
The 33-year-old has now led her team to the final in her first major tournament as skipper, despite a shaky start to the campaign.
Bartusiak and Co were defeated by their eventual semi-final opponents in their last group game.
Prior to that, they have been unbeaten in 12 previous encounters with the North American side.
After finishing second in Group F to progress to the knockout stages, Germany have looked an entirely different team.
“We’ve become closer as a squad,” the Frankfurt centre-back explained.
“Although we had a bit of a bumpy ride in the group stages, we kept believing in ourselves and addressed a few things.
“We always knew what we had in us and what we were capable of, and we’ve shown that much better in the knockout phase.”
The Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 final will be an all-European encounter.
The clash will be between Germany and Sweden at the Maracana on Friday 19 August.
Canada will play hosts Brazil for a chance to win the bronze medal on the same day in Sao Paulo at the Arena Corinthians.
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