Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team took one more step on their journey back to the Olympic podium with a win on penalty kicks over Brazil in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Quarter-finals. After Canada’s first penalty was saved, Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé made two vital saves to earn Canada the 0:0 (4:3) victory to secure their place in the Olympic Semi-finals, where they will face the USA.
Canada remains undefeated at Tokyo 2020 and this marks the third consecutive time that Canada has advanced to the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Semi-finals. Canada is the only nation in the world to reach the podium at both London 2012 and Rio 2016 in women’s football. The team is hoping to make history by getting back on the podium for a third consecutive time.
“Really proud of the resilient performance that the group put in. They went right to the very end, and I’ve said all tournament that big players step up in big moments, and I had no doubt in my mind in that moment that the penalty was going to be saved,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach. “Just over the moon, a really great Canadian performance and Canadian moment.”
Throughout the group stage, eight players have made their Olympic debuts (Kailen Sheridan, Adriana Leon, Evelyne Viens, Julia Grosso, Jayde Riviere, Vanessa Gilles, Jordyn Huitema, and Gabrielle Carle). All 22 players of Canada’s extended roster have also dressed during the competition.
“What a performance by the team. Defensively we were solid against some of the best strikers in the world. That’s what the Olympics are about, these tight games that bring out performances that make us really proud,” said Stephanie Labbé. “I’m so proud of the team in front of me today and being able to do my part to help the team come away with the win is a really proud moment for me as well.”
Canada will play USA in their Semi-finals match in Kashima on Monday 2 August at 17.00 local (04.00 ET / 01.00 PT). From the Olympic Semi-finals, the winners advance to Gold Medal Final in Tokyo on 6 August, while the losing teams will be playing for a Bronze Medal in Kashima on 5 August.
Canada and Brazil played a defensive battle through 90 minutes and two 15-minute extra time periods. Early in the first half, Captain Christine Sinclair stayed down after hitting her head on Kadeisha Buchanan’s knee defending in the box. Sinclair was able to continue following concussion protocols. In the 12’, Quinn found space after Ashley Lawrence had her shot blocked, but Quinn’s shot was over the bar. Lawrence and Jessie Fleming defended well throughout the first half, each with vital interventions at multiple key moments of Brazilian attack.
The second half provided Canada’s best chance to score from open play when in the 59’ Janine Beckie whipped in a free kick that Vanessa Gilles put off the Brazillian crossbar. Brazil had a chance in the 71’ but Labbé was up to the task. The best chance in extra time fell to Brazil with Vanessa Gilles providing a key block in the 113’ to ensure the game stayed at 0:0. After the fulltime whistle, Canada stepped up to shoot first with Sinclair’s shot saved. Marta converted for Brazil with Jessie Fleming doing the same for Canada. Debinha, Ashley Lawrence, Erika, and Adriana Leon each scored before Labbé made her mark stopping two shots with Vanessa Gilles scoring to ensure Canada got the victory.
Canada’s starting XI featured Stephanie Labbé in goal, Ashley Lawrence at right back, Vanessa Gilles and Kadeisha Buchanan at centre back, Allysha Chapman at left back, and Quinn, Desiree Scott, Jessie Fleming, Janine Beckie, Christine Sinclair and Nichelle Prince from the midfield up through to the attack. Head Coach Bev Priestman replaced Prince and Quinn with Deanne Rose and Julia Grosso (63’) Beckie with Adriana Leon (105’), Chapman with Jayde Riviere (107’), and Rose with Jordyn Huitema (114’).
OLYMPIC MEDAL WINNERS & CONCACAF CHAMPIONS
Canada are two-time Olympic bronze medal winners (2012 and 2016) and two-time Concacaf champions (1998 and 2010). In all, Canada have participated in seven consecutive editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ (1995 to 2019) and three consecutive editions of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament (2008 to 2016). At Rio 2016, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team were the first Canadian Olympic team to win back-to-back medals at a summer Olympic Games in more than a century.
Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Youth Teams, meanwhile, have won four Concacaf youth titles: the 2004 and 2008 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, the 2010 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship, and the 2014 Concacaf Girls’ Under-15 Championship. Canada have qualified for seven editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (including a silver medal at Canada 2002) and all six editions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup (including a fourth-place finish at Uruguay 2018).