Impetus presently sponsor seven players and have a further four content partner clubs at grassroots level. Here, for the first time, each of the players, clubs and our editorial team come together to each predict who will win the Gold medal and who they thought was the best player in Tokyo.
Above: Olympic Medals are up for grabs tomorrow. Photo: Olympic Games
Ashley Cheatley, Ashford Town, Middx (London & SE Regional Premier, Tier 5) – Sponsored by Impetus:
“I think Canada will win Gold because they’ve looked really good defensively. Despite them not being overly impressive from an attacking perspective, Jessie Fleming the Chelsea player, at the age of 23 has looked really strong and has 89 caps already which is incredible.”
Danny Clarke, International Surrey Women’s Football – Sponsored by Impetus:
“I think Canada will win gold because as back to back bronze medalists, they are consistent Olympic performers. They have already come through a number of hard-fought games, coming back against Team GB, beating Brazil on penalties and that all-important win against the USA as revenge for their 2012 loss.
“Without a doubt, a true veteran of women’s football, Christine Sinclar deserves that gold medal before she retires. The highest-scoring footballer ever and reaching 300 caps this Olympics is deserving of that medal she may never win otherwise and will carry a lot of the experience that Canada will need on Friday in one of the biggest games they’ve ever played.
“Sweden have been here before and lost, Canada have never reached the final before and will not want to waste their chance.”
Ted McCarter, Bure Valley Youth (Norfolk) – Impetus Partner Club:
“I think Sweden is going to win Olympic Gold. A long unbeaten run, huge tournament experience, an in form squad including the influential Fridolina Rolfö will make them hard to beat.Never write off the underdog but this is Sweden’s time to shine.”
Carla McManus, DLR Waves (FAI WNL – top flight) & Republic of Ireland U19 – Sponsored by Impetus:
“I think that Sweden are going to win because their attacking prowess is undeniably more of a threat than that of Canada – goals win games! Fridolina Rolfö who scored in their win over Australia in the semi-finals has had a great Olympics.”
Harriet Meers, Wroxham (Eastern Region Women’s Football League Premier, Tier 5) – Sponsored by Impetus:
“I think Sweden will take home gold because they have continued to impress throughout the Olympics so far. In particular, Magda Eriksson has been a solid player controlling the defence and I think she will look to maintain this against the Canadian attack.
“In the tournament overall, the player to impress me has to be Ellen White. Despite GB crashing out at the quarter finals it could be argued that Ellen carried GB through with a total of six goals. She is dynamic and executes her strikes excellently. The header she scored against Australia shows she always knows where the goal is. I firmly believe that if the rest of GB and their defence were stronger, we wouldn’t need to rely on Ellen White for the goals. Sweden for gold.”
Hannah Roberts, Pride Park FC (Derbyshire Ladies League, Tier 7) – Impetus Partner Club:
“I think Sweden will win the gold because they’ve been so defensively sound in every game, and in Fridolina Rolfö and Stina Blackstenius they’ve got two strikers in top form! The Canadians won’t go down easy though, so I reckon it will be a close match.”
Smara Sparkes-Bond, Helston Athletic (South-West Regional Women’s Football League Division One West, Tier 6) – Sponsored by Impetus:
“I think Sweden will take the Gold because they have been consistent throughout the tournament and shocked everyone by beating the USA so early on. Sweden are solid across the park and look threatening going forward.”
“I think the player of the tournament has been Ellen White as she was a contributor to all of Team GB’s goals and always looked a threat when the ball was at her feet. Ellen, at times, has multiple defenders marking her due to her ability to score, but she still succeeded.”
Michael Taylor, Euxton Girls FC (Lancashire) – Impetus Partner Club:
“I think Sweden are going to win because they have just been consistently solid. Fridolina Rolfö has had a great Olympics, causing all sorts of problems for opposing defenders as she’s so quick playing down the wing. Additionally, when she drifts into the middle you just can’t get the ball off her as well. To that you can add the screamers she’s scored plus as a couple of assists thrown in. Definitely a shout for player of the tournament and one to keep an eye on.”
Lisa Topping, Chorley (FA Women’s National League Division One North, Tier 4) – Sponsored by Impetus:
“I think Canada will win the gold medal as they’ve put in some tough shifts and battled in physical games against tough opposition. In line with that, Christine Sinclair has had a great Olympics and been a fantastic leader to the team.”
Paige Walder, Saltdean United (London & SE Regional Premier, Tier 5) – Sponsored by Impetus:
“I think Sweden will win because they’ve had a great tournament. Beating the USA, who were arguably the favourites going into the competition, 3-0 in the opening game was a real statement! Ellen White really stood out for me as a player in the tournament purely because of her goal to game ratio.”
IMPETUS EDITORIAL TEAM:
Ben Gilby, Impetus Editor:
“I think it is going to be Sweden’s Gold medal. This is a team who are reaching the end of a journey together that has seen them achieve the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics and third place in the World Cup in France three years later.
“They have been impressive from the start – solid defensively and able to covert territory and possession into goals when they most needed to throughout the competition.
“Canada’s achievement has been fantastic, but have found it hard to be clinical up front, and given the strength and organisation that the Swedes have at the back, it will be a major challenge for them to break through.
“In terms of great players this competition, the Barbra Banda story was wonderful, Vivianne Miedema’s ten goals in four games is staggering and massive credit to Jessie Fleming, but Fridolina Rolfö has caught the eye from start to finish.”
Kris Goman, Impetus Australian Correspondent:
I think Sweden will win the gold medal because they are the only team to have won every game so far. They are strong both attacking and in defence, have significant depth in the team and also haven’t had to play extra time so should be better rested.
Hedvig Lindahl has been outstanding. She’s only conceded three goals the whole tournament. She’s got solid defence in front of her but has come up big stopping shots all tournament.
I backed Australia to win the Bronze medal match because of the belief they have. They haven’t been this deep in a major tournament before but have competed beyond expectations. Depth and fatigue are a worry but I expected adrenalin to get them through.
I think Hayley Raso has been outstanding – she never gives up. She had Lauren Hemp’s measure against Great Britain and I’ve never seen that before. She’s all over the field and personifies the never say die attitude.
Jean-Pierre Thiesset, Impetus French Editor:
I think Canada will win because they have a great defence and Kadeisha Buchanan has been so solid. Quite simply, she will not let any ball go in their goal.
Abi Ticehurst, Impetus Irish Women’s Football/FA Women’s National League Correspondent:
“Despite the fact they’ve made the final, Canada feels like the underdog in this final outing of the tournament and I love an underdog.
“In reality, they’ve got the legend that is Christine Sinclair leading the side and the decisive penalty from Jessie Fleming, against the USA, to secure them the spot is proof they’ve got the balance of experience and youth in the squad. As a Reading fan, I’m keeping a close eye on Deanne Rose’s performance for the Reds as she played smart in the semis, I’ll be keen to see more of that. One last thing, how can you not love Bev Priestman? She’s only been in the job nine months having previously been England assistant and now she’s lead the side to defeating the USA and a Gold medal chance.
“Overall, the squad has played some simple, no nonsense football and gone quietly and cohesively about their business. They showed just what’s wrong with the English defence so I’m hoping Sarina Wiegman has taken copious notes this tournament! And finally, if this isn’t reason enough for Canada to introduce a professional league, I don’t know what is!
“Despite Zambia being ranked 104th in the World and suffering an early exit to the proceedings, my ‘Player of the Tournament’ goes to Barbra Banda. The nation’s first ever Olympics and she opened proceedings for the side in fashion with a hat-trick against the Netherlands and if that wasn’t impressive enough, she can also lay claim to being the first woman to ever score two hat-tricks in one Olympics. She looked clinical in front of goal and whilst she currently plays in China, she’s still only 21 so I expect there’ll have been plenty of eyes on her from Europe and across the pond. A bright future ahead no doubt.”
Kate Tigchelaar, Impetus Canadian Correspondent:
“I believe that Canada will win this gold medal match despite a majority of women’s football supporters and journalists believing it will be Sweden.
“While Sweden has had a terrific tournament, dispatching the likes of the US quite handily in a 3-0 win, there’s something about this Canadian team that feels special. They are more cohesive than they’ve ever been and when they play, you can really see that they are playing for each other.
“After beating the Americans, which was their first win against their neighbours to the south in over twenty years, belief will be at an all-time high for them that they can get Gold.
“I also believe the possibility for penalty kicks will be high but have faith that keeper Stephanie Labbé is more than up for the task. She made some outstanding saves against Brazil when it went to a penalty shoot-out and is more than capable of doing it again.
“Labbé has been a standout player for the team this tournament, surprising then as not too long ago she was talking about retirement. The plan had initially been that once the Olympic Games were done she’d retire but then they were pushed back a year and those plans were put on hold. It would be hard to imagine where the team would be without her.
“Whatever happens, this Canada team can hold their heads high having accomplished their goal of changing the colour of the medal and medalling in back to back to back Olympics. A truly phenomenal feat for a country that has no professional women’s league or even a professional team. Hopefully with this team continuing to prove just how good they are, that is something that will change in the near future.”
Kieran Yap, Impetus Australian Correspondent:
“My head tells me that Sweden will win. They have been the best side for not only this tournament but are almost unmatched in the Euro 2022 qualifiers.
“They have too many weapons and can bring Hanna Bennison off the bench if their big guns are not firing.
“I think Fridolina Rolfö has been a standout player. She is incredibly skilled and creative with a deadly left foot.”
For Impetus‘ North American Correspondent Catherine Paquette’s in-depth preview of the Gold Medal match, click on this link: https://impetus885775742.wordpress.com/2021/08/05/sinclair-verses-seger-a-battle-of-legends/