2 – 2
Tancredi 43', 84'
|14||SHOTS ON GOAL||9|
Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tears
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away.
Dream on, dream on, dream on,
dream yourself a dream come true...
- "Dream On", Aerosmith
Dare we dream? For at least today, Canadian women's soccer supporters can.
Canada turned in their best performance so far at the 2012 London Olympic women's football tournament so far, dominating play and hogging possession like a boss. If not for two very sloppy, against the run of play goals, Canada could have easily won the game against the fourth-ranked Swedes. However, with the draw, the Canadians are now assured of a spot in the knockout rounds. (If you missed our live commentary this morning, you can revisit it here.)
The game started brightly for the Canadians, who dominated play from the get-go...a huge departure from the first two games, where the ladies were at best tentative and unsure of themselves. Not so today, with all to play for, the Canadians took the play to the Swedes, and garnered a few early chances that could easily have put them ahead early in the match. Sadly, finishing, especially from Jonelle Filigno, was extremely disappointing here: but both Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi were guilty of some lax play as well.
But for all the pressure, it was undone in the 14th minute, Erin McLeod was a controversial choice to start since her gaffe against the Japanese in the opening game, but the goal by Marie Hammarstrom was a case of her being left hung out to dry by a defensive corps caught sleeping at the switch. Sofia Jakobssen's goal two minutes later though, was more on McLeod's shoulders, a goal where she could have done better in saving, but alas,
However, despite going down by two, the Canadians didn't panic, they fought on, something that has been a trademark for them for the past few games; and was duly rewarded by Melissa Tancredi's third goal of the tournament late in the first half; Sinclair playing deeper into the midfield rather than upfront, feeding the striker and Canada would head into the half with a bit of momentum.
The momentum would last for a fair bit into the third quarter, with a number of wonderful chances up front -- except for the fact that Filigno was caught offside on more than a few occasions. Some chances simply were wasted by players not taking the shot, or waiting too long to make it happen; that's something that a faster or a stronger team, like the US or Japan, would punish heavily.
Canada kept up the pressure though, and late in the game, they got their just reward: a scramble in front of the Swedish net off a free kick from Matheson, the ball finding Tancredi again who buries the header past Hedvig Lindahl to tie the game at two. They would press briefly for a winner, but in the end settled for the draw to see them through to the next round.
Despite the defensive hiccups at the beginning, it was a solid performance from the Canadians who showed their letter of intent here at the 2012 Olympics for the first time, and overall, showed a clear lack of some of the mental errors that marred the first two games. The only concern for the Canadians will be the health of replacement Marie-Eve Nault, who was subbed out late due to an injury; one can only hope it's nothing serious, given the situation in the back line with Candace Chapman still questionable.
Meanwhile, the waiting game begins for Canada with one of the qualifying 3rd place spots sealed up. Who they will face in the first knockout round will depend solely on other results from today. A New Zealand win against Cameroon coupled with a North Korea loss to the US would be the best result for the Canadians, as it would see them avoid the USA until at least the medal matches. We will bring you the latest as the results start coming in.