A Canada 2:0 win has kicked off the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after a memorable match in São Paulo, Brazil. Janine Beckie and Christine Sinclair were the goalscorers as #CanadaRED earned the maximum three points despite playing more than 70 minutes with just 10 players.
Beckie scored the first goal in an Olympic-record 21 seconds, coolly slotting home a pass from her captain Christine Sinclair. The captain then added the second in the 80th minute after Kadeisha Buchanan made a wonderful block at the other end and Jessie Fleming knocked it down pitch for the 2-0 lead.
“It was a dream start,” said captain Sinclair. “I don’t think we could have drawn it up better for us. I am super proud of our team – the fight we showed and the spirit. It was a huge win for us.”
Canada return to the Olympic pitch in three days to face Zimbabwe on Saturday 6 August, with the match to be broadcast live on Canada’s Olympic Network CBC TV and Radio-Canada starting at 14.00 ET / 11.00 PT (15.00 local). It will also be streamed via CBC’s App for Rio2016 in French and English (available for download for iOS and Android).
It was classic Sinclair at her best on the second goal – the ninth of her Olympic career. After the long pass forward from Fleming, Sinclair deftly touched it past goalkeeper Lydia Williams and then beat Lisa De Vanna to the ball to direct her shot into the empty net.
The match had a little bit of everything, keeping a nation captivated on the edge of their seats for the full 90 minutes. Canada were reduced to 10 players in the 19th minute after Shelina Zadorsky drew a red card for a foul on Michelle Heyman. Elise Kellond-Knight then hit the crossbar on the ensuing free kick while Alanna Kennedy hit the post late in the second half. At the other end, Canada had a Janine Beckie penalty stopped by Australia’s Williams.
In the 75th minute, Jessie Fleming fired a shot that slipped Williams’ fingers and went through her legs towards goal, but Australia’s Laura Alleway cleared the chance from the line. The Sinclair goal in the 80th minute finally gave Canada a bit of breathing room through to the final whistle.
“Records are records and they are exciting, but we pulled out the win and that was the important thing,” said goalscorer Beckie of her opening-minute goal. “We felt like we had the fans behind us. We couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere in which to play.”
Beckie is Canada’s 2016 offensive leader with seven goals and two assists in 12 matches. Sinclair, meanwhile, now has five goals and four assists in 14 matches this year, with 163 career international goals in 246 matches.
This marks Canada’s third consecutive participation at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. Four years ago at London 2012, Canada won a historic bronze medal, the nation’s first in a summer team sport since 1936.
“Brazil is such an amazing soccer country and it felt like we had the fans behind us,” said Janine Beckie after Canada’s 2:0 win at Corinthians Arena. “We couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere in which to play and win.”
“It was a dream start,” said captain Christine Sinclair. “I don’t think we could have drawn it up better for us. I am super proud of our team – the fight we showed and the spirit. It was a huge win for us.”
The match kept fans on the edge of their seats for the full 90 minutes. From Beckie’s record-breaking, first-minute goal through to the final whistle, fans kept connected to the ever-popular #CanadaRED. With only 10 players on the pitch for most of the match, Canada was that much better knowing #35MStrong were behind them every step of the way.
Canada return to the Olympic pitch to face Zimbabwe on Saturday 6 August, with the match to be broadcast live on Canada’s Olympic Network CBC TV and Radio-Canada starting at 14.00 ET / 11.00 PT (15.00 local). It will also be streamed via CBC’s App for Rio2016 in French and English (available for download for iOS and Android).
Canada kicks off Rio2016 Olympic tournament against Australia
The Rio 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament kicks off 3 August, two days before the opening ceremonies, with six group stage matches featured in three host cities.
Canada’s Women’s National Team will face Australia on the tournament opening day at 15.00 local (14.00 ET / 11.00 PT) at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, Brazil.
“We will have to be at our best in every match to progress through this Olympic tournament,” said Canada’s Head Coach John Herdman. “We’re coming into the Olympics as underdogs and we know we will have to deliver our best performances each day to earn results. Australia will be our first big test, but we are ready.”
Getting points in Canada’s first match against Australia, the reigning Asian champions, is important to ensure Canada is in a good position to earn a spot in the Quarterfinals. Canada will face first-time Olympic participants Zimbabwe on 6 August in São Paulo, before heading to Brasilia to face powerhouse, European Champions Germany 9 August in the final group stage match.
The top two teams in each of the three first-round groups plus the two best third-place finishers advance to the Quarterfinals of the Rio 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.
Canadian fans can expect a physical, close match when Canada faces Australia Wednesday. The two teams have not faced each other in an International A match since 2008, but there is familiarity for Herdman since he coached neighboring New Zealand before coming to Canada in 2011. The two sides also faced each other in a training scrimmage in Cyprus in advance of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.
“The Aussies are a solid team and their recent showing at the Asian Championships, winning the title for a second time, puts them in the running for a medal at this tournament,” said Herdman. “I always admire the Australian physicality and competitive spirit and we will have to be ready to match that when we meet. Honestly, I think it’s something our players are really looking forward to.”
Since finishing sixth at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ last year, Canada Soccer has added some new faces to the Women’s National Team roster, increasing the pace of the offensive line and adding some youthful energy to a lineup anchored by veterans.
“This is a Canadian team that’s in transition. It’s a young team but with good spirit, some exciting technicians, and a lot of grit, which you need to push far in major tournaments.” Herdman said. “For many this is will be their very first Olympic Games, but were not too worried about this being a factor since we have so many very experienced, top-class senior players that are guiding them through the journey. There’s a really good dynamic forming on and off the pitch and we’ve seen signs recently that they are starting to get the best out of each other.’’
The revamped Canadian side has been together since early June, when Canada hosted Brazil in a Road to Rio series in Ottawa and Toronto. The team has gelled during this time, and impressed on the pitch.
“What makes this team special is that in a short period of time they have built a strong foundation of trust and with that they are fully committed to a process of pushing themselves and each other to be better everyday,” said Herdman. “The grit and resilience we’ve seen through our recent home matches against Brazil, and a strong performance against France a few weeks back, show that we have the players and the team spirit to be a threat in the Olympic tournament.”
Canada’s first match versus Australia will be broadcast live on Canada’s Olympic Network CBC TV (nationally) starting at 13.30 ET / 10.30 PT with a pre-game show and on Radio-Canada. It will also be streamed via CBC’s App for Rio2016 in French and English (available for download for iOS and Android).
Canada’s Olympic Women’s Football Tournament Roster:
GK – Stephanie Labbé, October 10, 1986 (age 29). From: Edmonton, AB
GK – Sabrina D’Angelo, August 24, 1992 (age 23). From: Welland, ON
D – Kadeisha Buchanan, November 5, 1995 (age 20). From: Brampton, ON
D – Rebecca Quinn, August 11, 1995 (age 20). From: Toronto, ON
D – Shelina Zadorsky, October 24, 1992 (age 23). From: London, ON
D – Josée Bélanger, May 14, 1986 (age 30). From: Coaticook, QC
D – Allysha Chapman, January 25, 1989 (age 27). From: Courtice, ON
D – Rhian Wilkinson, May 12, 1982 (age 34). From: Baie-d’Urfé, QC
D – Ashley Lawrence, June 11, 1995 (age 21). From: Caledon, ON
M – Jessie Fleming, March 11, 1998 (age 18). From: London, ON
M – Diana Matheson, April 6, 1984 (age 32). From: Oakville, ON
M – Sophie Schmidt, June 28, 1988 (age 28). From: Abbotsford, BC
M – Desiree Scott, July 31, 1987 (age 29). From: Winnipeg, MB
F – Janine Beckie, August 20, 1994 (age 21). From: Highlands Ranch, CO
F – Nichelle Prince, February 19, 1995 (age 20). From: Ajax, ON
F – Christine Sinclair, June 12, 1983 (age 33). From: Burnaby, BC
F – Melissa Tancredi, December 27, 1981 (age 34). From: Ancaster, ON
F – Deanne Rose, March 3, 1999 (age 17). From Alliston, ON