A brilliant pair of first half goals from Jonelle Filigno and Christine Sinclair powered Canada to a 2-0 win over Team GB in the women's Olympic quarterfinal stage on Friday.
The Canadians started brightly, getting the home side on the back foot from the outset in hopes of taking the partisan crowd out of the match early. The plan came to fruition in the 12th minute, when Foligno met a Sophie Schmidt corner kick near the top of the British area and fired a half-volley into the top right hand corner of the goal.
The hosts would not get their heads down, though. The next several minutes saw Great Britain push forward looking for the equalizer, and the home side came close a couple of times before Sinclair gave the Canadians even more reason to celebrate in the 25th minute.
Canada's all-time goalscoring leader stepped up for a free kick from 20 yards out, and - reminiscent of her spectacular goal against Germany in last year's Women's World Cup - curled a beautifully placed shot over the wall and into the British goal.
For the rest of the first half, the Canadians were content to sit back and allow their opponents to come at them, with Canada calmly moving the ball around the defensive third and forcing Team GB to chase. Outside of a few half-chances, the British hardly created anything that would trouble Erin McLeod in the Canadian goal.
After a scrappy start to the second frame, both sides started pushing the ball at a faster pace. The Brits became more desperate to grab an opener as the half wore on, but Canada was equal to the task and played a physical game in order to disrupt the British attack.
For a long spell, the Canadians pinned their hosts in their own half, as Team GB looked disorganized and without any ideas on how to fight back from the two-goal deficit. The home side would eventually manage to get out of their side of the field, but McLeod was there on the rare occasion that she was needed.
As the final whistle approached, Great Britain started throwing everything forward, and were virtually camped out in the Canadian half of the field over the final ten minutes. The British penetration led to a penalty shout for the home side after it appeared that Rhian Wilkinson had taken down a Team GB player inside the 18-yard box, but the official decided against a call.
Moments later, Sinclair nearly nicked a third for Canada on a quick counterattack, but her weak shot was easily handled by the British 'keeper, who promptly launched the ball back into the Canadian end as the Brits continued to look for a goal.
It was never in the cards for the home side, though, as Canada thwarted every attack that Team GB could muster.
The win sees Canada into the semifinal round, and a match versus the United States at Old Trafford in Manchester on Monday.
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- Christine Sinclair
- Team GB