Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Women’s Football United States vs Canada August 2, 2021 at 4:00 am EST/5:00 pm JST Kashima Soccer Stadium in Kashima, Japan Watch Live: CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Olympics app, CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website.

With a spot in the Tokyo 2020 gold medal match on the line, Canada return to the pitch on Monday for a pivotal match against the United States. Canada enter this match coming off a dramatic win over Brazil on Friday. After both sides failed to score in the first 90 minutes, or in the 30 minutes of extra time that followed, penalties were needed to decide which team will play for a medal and which team will be going home. Stephanie Labbé was the hero in the shootout, stopping the final two Brazilian penalties, while Canada scored all four of theirs after Christine Sinclair's first one was saved. “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 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.” The United States are through to the semifinal after a win on penalties of their own, defeating the high-flying Netherlands after an extra 30 minutes couldn't break their 2-2 deadlock. Vivianne Miedema scored once in either half to bring her goal tally at the tournament up to 10, while Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams scored in the first half to score America's pair. Miedema and Aniek Nouwen failed to convert their penalties, while the United States scored all four of theirs and booked their ticket to the semifinals. This match will take place at Kashima Soccer Stadium, the site of Canada's 1-1 draw against Great Britain in the group stage. The United States also drew in Kashima in the group stage -- a 0-0 game against Australia, who take on Sweden in the other semifinal on Monday. This isn't the first time Canada and the United States have met in the semifinals of the Olympic Games, as Canadian fans will remember all too well. At the London 2012 Olympics, the two squared in a match that would go down as one of the most eventful, hectic affairs in the history of the two national teams. It looked as though a hat trick from Christine Sinclair was going to send Canada to the gold medal match after she gave Canada a 3-2 lead after her and Megan Rapinoe had traded a pair of goals each, but then chaos ensued. Erin McLeod was penalized by the referee as the Canadian goalkeeper had held the ball for more seconds -- which is against the rules but to say it's rarely called is an understatement. The United States were awarded an indirect free kick from inside the penalty area, and on that free kick the ball struck the arm of a Canadian defender and a penalty was awarded, which Abby Wambach scored to send the game to extra time. Alex Morgan scored in extra time, giving her side a 4-3 victory after 120 minutes. The United States ended up winning gold, while Canada settled for bronze after a 1-0 win over France a few days later. Some of the players from that match are still with the national team, including midfielder Desiree Scott. "All of us remember that 2012 match, it was a pretty incredible moment for Canadian soccer,” said Scott in a press release ahead of Monday's match. “But our team is completely different now. We developed as a program, the brand of soccer that we play has really evolved. We are a more confident group, and I think our edge will come from the belief that we have in ourselves. In 2012 we were hopeful that we could get to the Final, but now we believe in what we can do on a soccer pitch, and we truly believe that we can get to the Gold Medal match." Canada will want to avenge that controversial defeat in London, and get one up on the team who has beaten them more than anybody else. The United States are also back-to-back Women's World Cup champions, and looking to reach the Olympic podium again after winning gold in London, but crashing out on penalties to Sweden in Rio de Janeiro. The two met at the SheBelieves Cup in February, where a breakout performance from Vanessa Gilles in the absence of Kadeisha Buchanan saw Canada hold off the United States for 79 minutes. A goal from Rose Lavelle saw the United States earn a 1-0 victory, but it was a strong Canadian performance that they probably deserved a point from. A win on Monday and Canada "change the colour of the medal," as Bev Priestman has repeatedly said is the goal, with the possibility of that hardware being gold. The winner of this match takes on the winner of Australia vs Sweden on August 6th. The loser plays for a bronze medal on August 5th. Canada are already the only team to have reached the podium in London and Rio, and can make it a third straight in Tokyo after a year of delays and waiting for these Olympics to finally come around.


  • "Big players step up in big moments": After their penalty shootout win over Brazil, a theme was starting to form around this Canadian women's national team. In every match, there were a handful players who stepped up for Canada to secure a result, with a strong team performance around them, and against Brazil it was Stephanie Labbé's turn. Making saves all night long against their opponents' formidable attack, Labbé would come up big again in the shootout, stopping two penalties to send Canada through to the next round. While Canada dropped points against both Japan and Great Britain in the group stage, they have looked like a strong side, and have worked hard in every minute they've played. "Really proud of the resilient performance that the group put in,” said Canada head coach Bev Priestman after the Brazil game. "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. Just over the moon, a really great Canadian performance and Canadian moment.” They will need another big result on Monday if they're going to play for gold and guarantee themselves a medal.​
  • Multiple goal threats for the United States: The Americans have scored six goals at Tokyo 2020 thus far, and all six have been scored by different players. The usual suspects are among those who have found the back of the net in Japan -- Rose Lavelle scored against Canada at the SheBelieves Cup in February, and Alex Morgan scored in the aforementioned hectic game at London 2012 -- and both scored against New Zealand in the group stage of this tournament. Lindsey Horan, Christen Press, Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis are the other goalscorers, to go along with a pair of own goals that benefitted them against Australia. They have threats to score from all positions and areas on the pitch, so Canada's backline -- who has been fantastic for the most part in this tournament -- will need to keep up that form if they're to advance to the big match on August 6th.​
  • Canada motivated, confident they can pick up a positive result: As well as Desiree Scott's comments, Canada head coach Bev Priestman, the only female head coach left at the tournament, is confident ahead of one of the biggest games the women's national team has ever played. "I’m excited for this match," said Priestman. “Of course, there is the Canada-USA rivalry that is driving this group, but more importantly, this is the game that will help us change the colour of the medal, and I think this is what motivates the group more than anything. The players want to change the game in Canada like they did when they won their first Bronze Medal, and that is enough for this group to go and put out a performance that players didn’t think they had.” That motivation has driven this team forward for years, and it doesn't get bigger than a match against their biggest rivals in an Olympic semifinal.​


United States wins: 52 || Canada wins: 3 || Draws: 7

Previous match:

SheBelieves Cup: February 18, 2021 – United States 1-0 Canada

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