Women's soccer: Germany’s coach goes out with gold
Rio de Janeiro — With her arms raised in victory, coach Silvia Neid ran onto the field to join the celebration of Germany’s first Olympic gold medal — even jumping onto the dogpile.
What a way to go out.
Dzsenifer Marozsan scored early in the second half Friday and Germany went on to give Neid a 2-1 victory over Sweden for the nation’s first Olympic title in women’s soccer.
Neid, a two-time FIFA women’s coach of the year, is stepping down. The win at the iconic Maracana Stadium gave her one more title to cap her 11-year career as Germany’s coach.
“What I felt was pure joy because I know that was what we had earned and what we have worked so hard for,” Neid said.
Sweden, which upset the three-time defending champion United States on penalties in the quarterfinals, earned the silver medal for its best finish in the Olympic tournament since the sport joined the program in 1996. The Swedes also defeated Brazil on penalties in the semifinals, disappointing the host nation’s fans.
“I think we actually won the silver medal rather than losing the gold,” Sweden coach Pia Sundhage said.
Germany and Sweden were in the gold medal match for the first time. It was also the first all-European Olympic final.
Germany goalkeeper Almuth Schult gave piggy-back rides to her fellow players in the post-game celebration. Forward Anja Mittag held the jersey of teammate Simone Laudehr, who was injured in the tournament’s opening match, during the medal ceremony.
“This is definitely a new summit for German women’s football,” Neid said.
The German men play Brazil for gold Saturday.