GWANGJU, South Korea (Team Canada) – The Canadian women’s soccer team’s quest for gold was halted Friday. After a perfect start in the competition, Canada saw Russia take the semi-final of the 2015 Summer Universiade by a score of 4-0.
Canada’s journey is not complete however, since it will still fight for a medal against the loser of the other semi-final between France (3-1-0) and Japan (3-0-1). The Canadians defeated the French 2-0 in the tournament opener in Gwangju. The bronze medal clash will take place Sunday at 4 p.m. (3 a.m. ET) and will be webcast live and for free onwww.livefisu.tv.
Head coach Peyvand Mossavat took the blame for Friday’s loss. “We are obviously disappointed, however we have to be honest, they were a better team than us today,” said Mossavat. “We changed some things that just didn’t work for us. The coaches are going to take that loss. We should have done a better job trying to prepare the kids. The girls have done an amazing job, they have worked so hard and I’m so proud of them.”
“We have to learn from this and get better. There is one more game to fight,” he added.
The Russians were pressing hard right from the get go. On the 13th-minute mark, goalkeeper Marie-Joëlle Vandal (Longueuil, Que.) saw a hard shot from a Russian striker bounce off the goal post to her left. Vandal saved the day again at the 21st minute, when her well-timed run to clear the zone kept the score at 0-0.
Canada was still under pressure when the Russians opened the scoring. Elena Terekhova’s powerful strike was deflected by Vandal to her right, but Ekaterina Pantiukhina managed to knock the ball into the net before it rolled outside.
Joëlle Gosselin (Quebec City, Que.) came close to equalizing six minutes later. Heather Lund (Red Deer, Alta.) gave her the ball on the right side, but Gosselin’s one-time shot missed the target. At the half, it was 1-0 Russia.
Canada had some opportunities early in the second half, but the Russian machine continued its work. Terekhova came in from the right, cut inside the area and let fly a shot without warning at the 57th minute. Vandal had no chance, and it was 2-0.
Terekhova – again – then took a loose rebound on a blocked shot by Vandal and lobbed the ball over the Canadian goalkeeper at the 65th minute to make it 3-0. Alena Nurgalieva added another at the 77th minute after an individual effort in the box that made it 4-0, the final score.