Though the Opening Ceremonies are just days away, Canada kicked off their Olympic campaign early Wednesday morning with a group stage match against Japan.
Playing against the defending Women’s World Cup Champions, Canada came out strong but were ultimately defeated by the number three ranked team 2-1.
Despite a good showing in the first half, Japan managed to score twice, once off a beautifully worked play on the wing and just before the half, capitalizing on a mistake by goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
Faced with the tough task of overcoming a two-goal deficit, Canada came out much stronger in the second half with Hamilton, Ontario native Melissa Tancredi tapping in Canada’s goal off a great cross from right back Rhian Wilkinson.
Canada pressed for the equalizer in the late stages of the game with BC natives Sophie Schmidt and captain Christine Sinclair playing a big role, but their chances were dealt a big blow when they were reduced to ten players after centre back Candace Chapman was forced to leave the game with an injury.
The loss won’t come as a surprise, but the women should hold their heads high after putting forth such a valiant effort against such a highly rated team.
Canada’s next match will be on Saturday against 63rd ranked South Africa after which they conclude the group stage against Sweden. The top two team’s in the group will qualify for the quarterfinals.
Sweden defeated South Africa 4-1 in their fixture today.
Image Source: http://www.thestar.com/sports/london2012/football/article/1231533–london-2012-canada-s-women-s-soccer-team-opens-olympics-with-2-1-loss-to-japan