Norway's women's took defending champions USA by surprise in an enthralling gold medal match at Sydney Football Stadium on Thursday night. A golden goal gave them a surprising but well-deserved 3-2 win over the world champions.
The Americans looked to be on course for an easy win when they took the lead with just five minutes gone with Mulberry converting a square pass. They dominated possession for almost the firsthalf, but Norway equalised froma corner in a rare foray into their opponent's half. Espeseth's powerful header made it 1-1 at half-time. Norway were more competitive after that, but their keeper brought off some brilliant saves to keep them in the game.Then came a headed goal from Gulbrandsen for a 2-1 lead before Mulberry equalised on the stroke of full-time. The winner came in extra time.
Quotes after the match:Per-Mathias Hagmo (Norwegian coach on his team):
"My team fought hard, it came back twice. First after the US had taken an early lead, then after the last-minute equaliser. We were the better in extra-time and it was important to have a whole range of match winners - Espeseth, Pettersen, Mellgren, goalkeeper Nordby - on the squad. The decision to move Mellgren up front proved right."
Germany defeated Brazil 2-0 to take the bronze medal of the women'sOlympic Football Tournament - the biggest success for the Germans sincetheir silver medal at the 1995 Women's World Cup in Sweden. It wasGermany's second win over Brazil in the competition after they beat them2-1 in a match at group stage where Tine Theune-Meyer's team remainedundefeated.
Birgit Prinz netted her third goal of the campaign in the 79th toincrease the lead and clinch the bronze medal for the Germans. Prinz whocollected a through ball on her left knee and outpaced Juliana beforefiring home with her left foot proved her reputation as one of thefastest and most prolific strikers of the tournament.
Brazil left joint top scorers Raquel and Katia on the bench while theGermans did not line up defender Tina Wunderlich, whose own goal in thesemifinal against Norway cost them a place in the final and a shot atthe gold medal.