Germany gave coach Silvia Neid a 2-1 victory over Sweden in her final match for the nation’s first Olympic gold medal in women’s football. Neid, a two-time FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year, is stepping down following the Games. The win at the iconic Maracanã Stadium on Friday gave her one more title to cap her 11-year career as Germany coach.
At the final whistle, Neid ran with her assistants onto the field and jumped onto the players’ celebratory pile-up.
Sweden, who upset three-time defending champions the USA in the quarter-finals andhosts Brazil in the semi-finals, earned the silver medal for its best finish in the Olympic tournament since the sport joined the programme in 1996. Earlier in the day, Canada defeated Brazil 2-1 for the bronze medal in Sao Paulo.
Germany went into Friday’s match with a tournament-leading 11 goals, Melanie Behringer claiming five. They had the better chances in the first half, but it was not until three minutes after the break that Dzsenifer Marozsan’s sailed into the top-right corner.
Then Marozsan’s free-kick in the 62nd minute hit a post and rebounded off Sweden’s Linda Sembrant for an own-goal. The Swedes pulled one back in the 67th with Stina Blackstenius’ sliding goal, but the Germans held on.
“I’m very proud of my team,” Marozsan said. “It’s amazing. Unexplainable. It is a wonderful feeling. It was very motivating for us that the fans were cheering for Sweden.”
Sweden coach Pia Sundhage, who led the USA to Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, was philosophical after the defeat.
“It’s a little bit of an empty feeling, but I said to the players afterwards we need to enjoy this silver medal,” she said. “I am very proud of the team. We were so close, but congratulations to Germany and to Silvia.”