Something special building at Rio 2016
Posted on 13 August 2016 in Women's National Team / Olympic Team
Canada are the only one of four Olympic semi-finalists returning for a chance to win a medal four years after winning a bronze medal at the London 2012 Women's Olympic Football Tournament.
When Canada faces Germany on Tuesday 16 August, it will be for a spot in the Rio 2016 gold medal game. The Olympic semi-finals match kicks off at 16.00 local in Belo Horizonte, with a live broadcast back in Canada at 15.00 ET / 12.00 PT (broadcast details to be published at Olympics.cbc.ca).
Four years ago, Canada finished third ahead of France, with USA first and Japan second. At Rio 2016, Canada eliminated France 1:0 in the quarter-finals, while Sweden eliminated USA on kicks from the penalty mark also in the quarter-finals. Japan, meanwhile, were eliminated in the Asian qualifiers.
"We didn't come here to beat France in the quarter-finals, we came here to get on the podium," said Christine Sinclair.
Sinclair believes France are perhaps the best team in the world right now, but she and her teammates believe Canada possess the best defence of any nation at the moment. Canada will need to be at their best once again when they face European champions Germany for the second time in the tournament.
"It's going to be tough to play Germany again, one of the best teams in the world, but we have everything we need in this group of players," said Janine Beckie. "We have one of the best defensive teams in the world."
Along with an outstanding defensive line that includes last year's FIFA Women's World Cup Best Young Player Kadeisha Buchanan, Canada have goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé as their last line of defence. With Friday's 1:0 win over France, she tied Erin McLeod's team record with two clean sheets at an Olympic Tournament.
"We are on a roll, but at the same time we have such a high belief in ourselves," said Labbé. "We know that we can come up against any team in the world right now.
"It is going to be exciting against Germany, definitely a different game from last time because there is a lot on the line. Both teams are coming out looking for a spot in that final game for a chance to go for a gold medal. We know what we have to bring and how to come out and beat the Germans."
With four wins at Rio 2016, Canada have now posted a record of 14 wins and four losses in 18 international matches this calendar year. Since finishing sixth at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™, Canada have posted a record of 16-0-6 in 22 matches, including a second-place finish at the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Football Qualifiers and a first-place finish at the Algarve Cup.
They also finished first in their group at Rio 2016 with nine points. They remain the only perfect soccer team in Brazil from 16 men's and 12 women's teams at the Olympic Football Tournaments.
"The team have been growing since we brought them back together in November," said John Herdman, Canada Soccer's Women's National Team Head Coach. "We made some bold changes after the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015, but the veterans have embraced the young kids and the young kids have embraced the veterans. There's a special little chemistry, they have formed, something that you see now on the pitch.
"Game after game, they keep showing something that tells you that we may be able to do this."