Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Women’s Football Chile vs Canada July 21, 2021 at 3:30 am EST/4:30 pm JST Sapporo Dome in Sapporo, Japan Watch Live: CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Olympics app, CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website.

Matchday two of Canada's run at the Tokyo 2020 Women's Football tournament kicks off on Saturday, with a game against Chile.

After a 1-1 draw with Japan, a slightly disappointing result given Canada were leading for most of the first 85 minutes, Canada will be looking for all three points against a good team, but one they're expected to beat. Chile held their own against a very strong Great Britain team, and while they did end up losing 2-0, they showed a resilience that will keep them in any game.

These sides have only met once before -- a 1-0 Chile victory in a match at a friendly tournament in Brazil in 2013. Yanara Aedo was the goalscorer for Chile in that match, and is a part of this roster in Japan, so Canada will need to keep an eye on the 27-year-old Rayo Vallecano midfielder.

Two other Chile players play in Primera División -- defender Javiera Toro of Sevilla and Aedo's Rayo Vallecano teammate, also a defender, Camila Sáez. Forward Daniela Zamora plays for Swedish club Djurgårdens, while captain and superstar goalkeeper Christiane Endler (more on her in a minute) recently made the move to Olympique Lyonnais from Paris Saint-Germain. The rest of the team plays in the country's domestic league, with the exception of Nayadet López, who is currently without a club after leaving Santa Teresa CD, who were recently relegated from the Spanish top flight.

This is Chile's first Olympics, two years after they made their Women's World Cup debut. The women's national team in Chile has been through a lot over the past decade or so -- the Chilean governing body essentially neglected the women's team, leading to them playing zero competitive matches for a few years, and being taken off the FIFA rankings leaderboard due to their inactivity. At the behest of a union of players themselves, Chile reformed their team and played a competitive match again in 2017, and have been on an upwards trajectory since. Currently ranked 37th in the world, they reached a peak of 36th in late 2019.

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It will be far from an easy match for Canada, but the group are confident, and expecting to come away with a big result.

"Chile will not be an easy team to beat,” said Canada head coach Bev Priestman in a press release. “They are a resilient team, they are aggressive, they like to player-mark, and that is not a style Canada is used to playing with. We will need to be clinical and have the right mindset, but I do believe we can get the three points."

"I think it is going to be a competitive, hard-fought match,” added midfielder Desiree Scott. “It’s their first Olympic tournament and they have nothing to lose. Physically, we will have to battle and go toe-to-toe with them. We will have to be confident in our attack and defensively not allowing them anything."

With the group of defenders Canada have available to them, a clean sheet is in the cards, especially after holding off a stronger Japanese attack for 85 minutes. The question will be whether Canada can break down a strong Chilean backline, and beat arguably the world's best goalkeeper.

Christine Sinclair was again the goalscorer for Canada in her 300th match for Canada, and will need to be sharp again in match number 301, while Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince impressed as inverted wingers on either side of her. Beckie scored in the second half against Japan, but the goal was called back as she was wrongly judged to be offside. It was a moment of bad luck for Canada, who will be hoping to create more chances on Saturday and pick up the three points that would put them in a good spot to qualify for the quarterfinals.


  • How much will Canada rotate? With one eye on their third group game against Great Britain on Tuesday, Canada will need to rotate their squad on Saturday, but how much remains to be seen. With Vanessa Gilles a more-than-capable option at centre-back, resting one of Kadeisha Buchanan or Shelina Zadorsky seems like a real possibility, as does seeing someone like Sophie Schmidt or Julia Grosso start in place of Desiree Scott, who put in a 90-minute shift running around at the base of the Canada midfield. Christine Sinclair starting up top seems inevitable, but don't be surprised if at least one of Jordyn Huitema, Adriana Leon or Deanne Rose starts in place of Nichelle Prince or Janine Beckie on the wings. In other words, expect rotation, but don't expect anything too excessive from Bev Priestman.
  • Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler one of the world's best: Considered among the best goalkeepers in the world, Chilean netminder Christiane Endler has been in goal for Chile for many of their biggest moments as a national team and recently moved between two of the biggest powerhouse clubs in the sport. After spending a few years with Paris Saint-Germain in Division 1 Féminine, helping them win their first league title this year alongside Ashley Lawrence and Jordyn Huitema, Endler is off to Olympique Lyonnais for the 2021-22 season, joining Kadeisha Buchanan with the team that had won 14 straight titles prior to PSG's triumph. Currently the captain of Chile, Endler has been with the national team since 2009 -- when she was 18 -- and has helped them reach their first Women's World Cup (2019) and first Olympics (2020) in the process, a reward for her hard work during the aforementioned turmoil and excellence at the club level. A seven-time winner of the Chilean Women's Footballer of the Year, among a whole host of individual awards, Endler is crucial to Chile's success, and will be a tough final hurdle for the Canadian attackers to beat on Saturday.
  • Stephanie Labbé's status for Saturday still unclear: Who starts in the opposite net to Endler remains to be seen. Stephanie Labbé was the starter for Canada against Japan on Wednesday, but after a Japanese attacker landed on her shoulder during a challenge for the ball, she proceeded to save the ensuing penalty before being taken out in place of Kailen Sheridan. We're yet to hear official word on Labbé's status, so Sheridan starting seems like a real possibility. It would be far from a step down in quality either -- Sheridan is one of the NWSL's best goalkeepers -- and having three goalkeepers on the roster who could all start (with veteran Erin McLeod also in the squad) is one of Canada's biggest strengths.


Chile wins: 1 || Canada wins: 0 || Draws: 0

Previous match:

December 15, 2013 – Chile 1-0 Canada

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