CANADA and Sweden’s gold medal clash in the Olympic women’s football final has been moved to the evening due to worries over Tokyo’s scorching midday heat.
The duel which was due to commence on Friday in Japan’s capital at 11:00 local time will start at the later slot of 9:00 pm – which is 1:00 pm UK time.
And the encounter will be held in Yokohama amid concerns about the quality of the pitch at Tokyo’s National Stadium where the match was expected to take place.
The Guardian reports that high temperatures expected around the early kick-off time had prompted worries from both teams regarding the health of their players.
It is claimed that the early kick-off slot was chosen as a result of broadcasters in the USA wanting to show the match on television if their women’s national side reached the finals.
The time change for the game, reportedly approved by the International Olympic Committee and Fifa has been welcomed by Sweden boss Peter Gerhardsson who described it as a “very good decision”.
And via her Twitter account Sweden and Chelsea goalkeeper Zecira Musovic said: “To even consider playing a final at 11:00 local time in Japan is a direct danger to the players’ health due to extreme weather conditions.
“Once again money talks way too much in a discussion that should not be a discussion.”
At a press conference, Canada head coach Bev Priestman added: “I think the (kick-off time) change makes absolute sense in terms of the spectacle of the game and what it can be.
“For anyone tuning in around the world it will be a much better game because of it and I can’t wait to get going.”
The clash will see Sweden and Priestman’s Canadian side battle for their first Gold medal Olympic win a day after the USA’s 4-2 bronze triumph against Australia.
And it could potentially see Priestman, 35, who is a former Lionesses’ number two, claim her first major tournament win ten months after becoming head coach of the world’s eighth-best women’s football tea .
Her side, which includes Chelsea’s Jessie Fleming, Tottenham’s Shelina Zadorksky and Man City’s and West Ham’s Janine Beckie and Adriana Leon, claimed a major scalp in beating the USA in the contest’s semis.
The 1-0 victory under the Durham-born coach was Canada’s first win against their neighbours in 20 years.
Priestman added: “I feel really excited and very privileged.”
“I knew going into our game against that if we just believed it would go our way and it did.
“There is a feeling that I get from this group, this hunger and desire.
“I have got no doubt that they see Gold and they want to get Gold.”
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