Four down, two to go for Canada in search of Olympic football gold
Four wins down, two more left to go for Canada’s women’s soccer team.
Head coach John Herdman’s side won its fourth straight game of the Rio 2016 on Friday, beating France 1-0 in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals against Germany.
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The game against France was a rematch of the bronze-medal game from London 2012, which Canada also won 1-0. And like that game four years ago, it was a scrappy encounter in which the Canadian defence simply would not break.
“I’m proud of the girls tonight,” said Herdman. “They showed that Canadian grit again, that spirit that we talk about that takes teams through tournaments.”
Canada has given up just two goals in four games in this tournament, scoring upset wins over Germany (ranked No. 2 in the world), France (No. 3) and Australia (No. 5) along the way.
Team captain Christine Sinclair said much of that success has come down to Canada having what she believes is “the best defensive team in the world”.
“We’re proud of every single player, every single member of the staff,” said Sinclair. “We have this ‘never say die’ attitude, and I think you’ve seen it throughout the course of this tournament.”
That defensive strength will be tested in the semifinal game against Germany on Tuesday. Defender Josée Bélanger will be suspended after picking up a yellow card against France, while fellow defender Allysha Chapman had to leave the quarterfinal game with a shoulder injury.
Herdman said, however, that Chapman could potentially be available next week, when Canada will play two games: the semifinal against Germany and then either the gold- or bronze-medal match.
And there’s no doubt about which of those games the team plans to be in.
“Our job isn’t over,” said Sinclair. “We didn’t come here to beat France in the quarterfinals and call it a tournament. We came here to get on the top of the podium.”