Sports Beckie scores twice to lead Canada's women's soccer team 2-1 over Chile
Soccer ball giveaway at downtown Winnipeg park offers youth a chance to play, build community
On a hot Saturday afternoon, families from Winnipeg's downtown area gathered at Central Park for an event that gave away free soccer balls and other equipment — and gave kids a chance to get active, which the COVID-19 pandemic has often made difficult. The 100 Soccer Balls event was organized in collaboration between Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba and Central Neighbourhoods Winnipeg, a neighbourhood revitalization group hosted under the umbrella of the Spence Neighbourhood Association. "We have 100 soccer balls, cleats and socks to give away.
SAPPORO, Japan — On soccer's biggest stage, and with a berth in the Olympic quarterfinals hanging in the balance, Janine Beckie wasn't about to let a missed penalty shot bring her down.
The Manchester City striker shrugged off the early missed chance in emphatic fashion on Saturday, scoring twice to lead Canada's women's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Chile.
The victory all but guarantees the eighth-ranked Canadians, who tied host Japan 1-1 in their opener on Wednesday, a berth in the quarterfinals.
"It's frustrating to miss a penalty to be able to put the team up early on in the game, would have been ideal, but it happens. You can't score if you don't shoot, so I stepped up to take it and I’ll continue to step up and take them," Beckie said.
Christine Sinclair goal not enough for Canada in Olympic opener: Japan scores late in 1-1 draw
Canada had to settle for a draw in its opening game of the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics. Christine Sinclair scored for Canada in a 1-1 tie against host Japan at the Sapporo Dome on Wednesday. Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe stopped a penalty before leaving the game injured, while Mana Iwabuchi scored for Japan. “I think against Japan, we knew that they were very technical with the ball, but I think we had identified that we had to use our strengths and we wanted to impose ourselves without the ball on Japan,” said Canada coach Bev Priestman. “I thought we did that at times.
"My job for this team is to score goals. And you know, Nichelle Prince is incredible at putting the ball on a play for me, Ashley Lawrence, Christine (Sinclair), I have players around me that create scoring opportunities for me. So, to be able to reward the team with two goals is great. We came here to win. And so, to be able to help by scoring two goals makes me happy."
The Canadians face Britain on Tuesday at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium to close out Group E action. Britain beat No. 37 Chile 2-0 in their opener.
Beckie scored in the 39th minute at Sapporo Dome, burying a rebound that fell at her feet in the middle of the box after a cross from Prince.
The 26-year-old connected on her second less than two minutes into the second half, taking a through ball from Prince, then deking out Chilean 'keeper Christiane Endler to score into a wide-open net.
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Beckie now has five Olympic goals. She scored three at the 2016 Rio Games, where Canada won bronze for the second consecutive Games.
Canadian coach Bev Priestman had expected a tough challenge from the Chileans, who were making their Olympic debut.
"I think it's exactly what I expected the game to be. I've always said that this game was never an easy game," she said. "We made it difficult for ourselves at times. But at the end of the day, we could have had four goals ... so I'm overall happy we came here to get three points. That's exactly what we did."
Beckie's goals made up for her disappointment in the 20th minute, when she clanged a penalty shot off the right post. The penalty was awarded after Sinclair was taken down in the box. The 38-year-old superstar, playing in her 301st career game for Canada, hobbled on her ankle after the incident, but appeared OK minutes later.
Priestman said she assessed Sinclair at halftime, and she was fine to continue.
Janine Beckie's grit, courage (and goals) lift Canadians when they needed her most
When Canada badly needed someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck, Janine Beckie dutifully stepped up by scoring a brace to guide her team to a vital 2-1 win over Chile on Saturday at the Tokyo Olympics. Canada (1-1-0) will now play Great Britain (2-0-0) on July 27 in Kashima to determine first place in Group E, and only needs a draw to advance to the quarter-finals. It was far from a dominant performance against Chile by a Canadian side that was coming off a lacklustre 1-1 draw vs. Japan in their opening match of the competition. But that mattered very little to Canada's goal-scoring hero on the day. "We came here to win.
"We definitely wouldn't have risked her for the rest of the tournament," Priestman said. "At the end, I asked how she was, she said, 'I'm absolutely fine,' so that hopefully fills us with confidence that it won't have a knock-on effect for the rest of the tournament."
Canada appeared to take an early lead on a shot that ricocheted off defender Kadeisha Buchanan and into the net in the sixth minute. The referee waved it off for a hand ball.
Despite their two-goal lead, the Canadians couldn't breathe easy.
Karen Araya made history with Chile's first Olympic women's goal, awarded after Canada's Shelina Zadorsky was whistled for a foul inside the 18-yard box in the 57th minute. Araya launched the ball into the left side of the net, while Canadian 'keeper Kailen Sheridan dived to the opposite corner.
Chile had a chance to tie it in the 72nd minute when a shot from in close banged off the crossbar.
Priestman praised the play of Julia Grosso and Jayde Riviere, who made their Olympic debuts on Saturday, Grosso in the midfield and Riviere on the back line.
"They both came up through the youth system, was really proud of both of those performances," she said.
Canada Olympics schedule today: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch Team Canada at 2021 Tokyo Games
Sporting News has you covered on how to watch every Team Canada competition, including start times and TV channels for every sport, every day of the Tokyo Olympics.Canada is filled with gold-medal dreams as 370 athletes — including heavy favourites such as swimmer Penny Oleksiak and sprinter Andre De Grasse — take the field, pool, court or floor across Tokyo and Japan. While there are a number of first-timers, there's also a handful of athletes who are competing in a sport that's making its debut in 2021, such as sports climbing and skateboarding.
Their contribution was further evidence of Canada's depth, which Priestman and her team will need in the Olympic tournament, particularly when they leave the comfortable indoor Sapporo Dome.
"I will be calling on the depth I think, for players to go three nights is a big ask. And we're going to go back to the heat now, out of the lovely air-conditioned dome that we're currently in," she said.
Tuesday's game against Britain is key, both for drawing a favourable opponent in the quarterfinals, and helping Canada "massively in terms of belief going into the knockout round," Priestman said.
The teams were able to avoid the sizzling heat in Japan in the indoor stadium in Sapporo, which is about 830 kilometres north of Tokyo. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the match was played in front of no fans in the cavernous 41,000-seat stadium, normally home to baseball's Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and soccer team Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. The voices of the coaches and players hollering directions provided the soundtrack.
Sheridan started in net in place of Stephanie Labbé, who suffered a rib joint injury during her heroic performance against Japan. Labbé was injured challenging an attacker inside the penalty area. She was down for several minutes but stayed in the game to stop a Japanese penalty shot. The 24-year-old Sheridan replaced her in the 58th minute.
The Canadian team has 12 members of the teams that won bronze under former coach John Herdman in the previous two Olympics. Canada, under Priestman, has boldly stated their goal for Tokyo is to "change the colour" of the medal.
Eight teams will advance from the 12-country round robin to the knockout stage. The final is set for Aug. 6 at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.
The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated Britain was ranked No. 6 in the world. Britain does not have a ranking but includes players from No. 6-ranked England.
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