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August 3, 2012
Canada, Japan, France advance

Striker Christine Sinclair could not find the right words after Canada defeated the hosts, 2-0, in the Olympic women’s soccer tournament at the City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry on Friday night.

“I think we are in shock right now,” she said. “To win the way we did, I’m just speechless.”

Sinclair had a lot to say about that, scoring one goal — off a 24-yard free kick in the 26th minute after Jonelle Filigno got things started with a header goal in the 12th minute.

“At the start of the game we knew we couldn’t afford to go behind, especially in front of this crowd,” Sinclair said. “That’s why we started on fire.”

Sinclair has 140 international career goals.

“Christine has practiced that free kick so many times,” Canada coach John Herdman said. “Every training session, she rehearses it 16 times. She’s so disciplined – that’s what I love about her. She takes nothing for granted. So when that ball was put down, 90 percent of the team knew where it was going. And she does the dog work – normally those players don’t do that.”

The Canadians could not have coaxed a better performance out of themselves, keeping the hosts on their heels from the early going.

“We dominated the whole match,” Canada midfielder Kaylyn Kyle said. ” We had a game plan and we stuck to it. Great Britain is a great team. They were undefeated the whole tournament and they beat Brazil. So to come out and have a great performance against a team like that just shows that we’re growing through this tournament. And we’re very excited about it.”

It certainly was an emotional victory for the Maple Leafs. Desiree Scott, who cried when the referee called it a game, is aiming for some greater glory.

“We’re going to the semis so we’re one step closer,” she said about the gold-medal match. “I think this is our time.”

First, the Canadians will have to get past the United States, 2-0 victors over New Zealand on Friday. The Americans have dominated the series between the North American rivals for years.

“The USA is obviously favorites for the tournament and are on fire right now,” Sinclair said. “But we know them very well and we deserve to be there.”


Yuki Ogimi scored in the first half and Shinobu Ohno in the second half to lead Japan over the Brazil at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

"The players did a very good job," Japan coach Norio Sasaki said. "They were very patient and controlled the game. It was our first time playing against Brazil at a major tournament and the players could have been fearful of them. But we knew their stamina would decline in the second half, so I told the players to get the ball forward quickly, and it worked."

Ogimi gave Japan all the scoring they needed in the 27th minute, when Mizuho Sakaguchi found Ogimi, who knocked the ball into the lower corner.

Ohno added an insurance tally in the 73rd minute.

The Brazilians had their chances, including a Marta free kick that just went wide and Cristiane's header that sailed over the crossbar.

"It was not the result I was expecting, and nor was it fair," said Marta, five-time FIFA women's player of the year. "We played better than Japan."


After spotting Sweden to a 1-0 lead, France came back with two goals within a 10-minute span at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland to win 2-1. The French avenged a defeat to the Swedes in the WWC's third-place match last year.

"We played a creative match," France coach Bruno Bini said. "It was perfect. We didn't buckle against a really strong team."

Nilla Fischer had given Sweden an 18th-minute lead, but that the French pushed forward.

Laura Georges tied it in the 29th minute before Wendie Renard connected for the game-winner 10 minutes later.

French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi was oustanding down the stretch, saving a head shot by Fischer in the 72nd minute.

"Sarah made a great save at just the right moment," Bini said. "That allowed us to continue into the semifinals. She made two stops that were incredible. A goalkeeper can lose you a match, but there are a very few that can win you a match."

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