Canada’s Women Collect Themselves After Disappointment to Seize Soccer Bronze Medal for Second Straight Olympics
Twenty seconds into the Olympic women’s soccer tournament on Aug. 3, Canada had already found the back of the net, a confidence-building strike and an omen for a remarkable 16 days to come.
The four-game winning streak to start the event was one too few to reach the gold-medal game but Canada rebounded just as it did in 2012 to overcome semifinal heartbreak and deliver a bronze-medal victory in the end.
Canada defeated Brazil 2-1 on Friday at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo on goals from Deanne Rose and Christine Sinclair in a game they dominated for the first hour. Brazil mounted a late face-saving rally, which included a goal from Beatriz.
“Just crazy, eh. We did it again,” a somewhat speechless coach John Herdman told CBC in a televised interview.
“We’re all elated, to go back-to-back podiums. It’s just crazy. I can’t even tell you.”
Canada entered the tournament as the 10th-ranked team in FIFA’s rankings. Along the way, the new mix of emerging round players and veteran stalwarts gelled into a unit capable of beating the world’s best teams. Janine Beckie’s goal after 20 seconds in the opener against Australia set the tone for wins over the world No. 5, followed by a pool-play victory over Germany (world No. 2) and a quarter-final dismissal of world No. 3 France.
The semifinal rematch against Germany resulted in a 2-0 loss and a return to the bronze-medal match.
Deanne Rose, a surprise starter at forward in place of Janine Beckie, converted great cross off a long run down the left side by Ashley Lawrence for the 1-0 lead in the 25th minute. Brazil keeper Barbara got a foot on the ball but it was struck too hard from too close by the 17-year-old to block completely.
Christine Sinclair, making her 250th international appearance for Canada, made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute by stepping away from two markers and taking a pass off the right wing from Rose and firing it short side past Barbara.
“I’m so proud of our team and the resilience we showed,” Sinclair told CBC in a televised interview.
“I didn’t think anything could feel better than London, but it does.”
Beatriz narrowed the lead in the 79th minute with a quick turn-and-shoot after a throw-in by Brazil was allowed to bounce around in the box.
The medal was the 20th for Canada at the Rio Games, exceeding the Canadian Olympic Committee’s goal of 19 medals.