Canada-Sweden Olympic soccer final pushed back due to concerns about heat

The women’s gold medal soccer match between Canada and Sweden has been moved to Friday evening at 9 p.m. in Japan (Friday at 8 a.m. ET).

Match now begins Friday at 9 p.m. local time, in Canada on Friday at 8 a.m. ET

Canada's Christine Sinclair runs with the ball during the semifinals against the U.S. Canada's gold-medal match was rescheduled at both teams' request due to the expected heat in Tokyo. (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The women's gold medal soccer match between Canada and Sweden has been moved to Friday evening at 9 p.m. in Tokyo (Friday in Canada at 8 a.m. ET).

The venue is also changing. It will now be played at Yokohama Stadium. 

The game was originally scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday in Tokyo at Olympic Stadium, but both teams and their respective national Olympic committees expressed concerns about extreme heat at that time of the day.

Temperatures have soared throughout the week in Tokyo, at times feeling above 40 C with humidity.

With track and field taking centre stage Friday night at Olympic Stadium, that ruled out moving the women's gold-medal match to later in the day at that venue.

Canada's head coach, Bev Priestman, said the team would have played the gold-medal game at any time, but said moving it was the right decision.

"It's a gold-medal match. They would have played morning, night. They were ready," Priestman said Thursday during a press conference. "But I think the change makes absolute sense for the spectacle of what the game could be."

Ashley Lawrence said that although the players had been preparing mentally to play their earliest match of the tournament, and in the heat, they will adapt to the later start.

"I think it's great that we can play at 9 p.m., just with the weather, and for both teams it's going to make for a better game," she said.

Sweden head coach Peter Gerhardsson called the time change "a very, very, very, very, very good decision."

A day earlier, Canada Soccer said it supported moving the start time.

"Canada Soccer is also in support of changing the kickoff time of the gold medal match at the Tokyo 2020 Women's Olympic Football Tournament to ensure the health and safety of our players," the organization said in a statement.

The Canadian Olympic Committee was quick to follow.

"The COC supports Canada Soccer's request to change the time of the women's soccer final. It is in the best interest of the athletes," the COC said in a statement.

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