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Germany wins 2016 Olympic women's soccer gold medal

A dramatic second half and a fantastic goal saw Germany win Olympic gold for the first time.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Dzsenifer Marozsan played the hero and Germany have won gold as the 2016 Olympics women's soccer tournament final was decided by a dramatic, high-action second half. Germany beat Sweden 2-1 thanks to a goal from Marozsan and an own goal, then held off a determined Swedish attack to secure their first-ever Olympic gold medal. Sweden will have to settle for their first Olympic medal being silver.

The first half was an exercise in missed chances, with Germany struggling to turn half-chances into high-quality scoring opportunities, and Sweden failing to take advantage of numerous set-pieces. A number of corners for Sweden came to naught but a couple of poorly taken shots at goal, and German fans were left holding their heads in their hands when Anja Mittag completely missed a golden opportunity to score late in the half.

The second half, though, was a very different story. The two teams had barely managed to work up a sweat again when Marozsan had a ball trickle out to her at the top of the box with some space to work with. All she needed was a quick steadying touch and she rifled home a shot that threaded the needle between two defenders, the outstretched goalkeeper, and the upper frame of the goal to find the back of the net and put Germany up 1-0. It was a high-quality shot that showed fans just how good Marozsan could be, and was an excellent way to demonstrate how well she'd been playing.

An awkward own goal by Swedish defender Linda Sembrant gave Germany a 2-0 lead just after the hour mark, but Sweden kept themselves in the match with a well-taken goal from substitute striker Stina Blackstenius. That pulled Sweden back within one goal thanks to the same woman who scored Sweden's huge goal against the United States in the quarterfinal.

That set off a spell of play that can be best described as a desperate scramble, with both teams pushing extremely hard trying to chase a crucial goal. Germany did their best to slow the match down to play out the string in the last 10 minutes, but that opened up a chance for Lotta Schelin to gut their defense. However, a crucial mistake by the Swedish attacker allowed Germany's defense to get into position to get the ball partly clear and recover by the time Sweden got the ball back into a dangerous area.

It was almost all Sweden in the closing minutes after that, but time and again they failed to take full advantage of the chances presented. When the final whistle blew, it was Germany celebrating and Sweden asking themselves what more they needed to do, though they should feel little shame -- Sweden's performance was a magnificent one, but Germany was just that much better to earn their first-ever Olympic gold medal.