COVENTRY, ENGLAND — Canada is off to the semi-finals of the London 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament after an impressive 2:0 victory over the hosts Great Britain. The quarter-final victory on 3 August was played in front of 28,828 mostly-British fans at the City of Coventry Stadium.
Jonelle Filigno opened the scoring early with a fantastic goal off a corner kick before Christine Sinclair scored her 20th goal of the season on a free kick midway through the first half.
Filigno gave Canada a fantastic start as her goal on the half-volley put Canada in front in the 12th minute. Sophie Schmidt took the corner kick and Filigno timed her run well into space. Filigno got her right foot to it perfectly even after it took a tricky bounce a few feet away. She sent the ball beautifully into the top right corner.
Less than 15 minutes later, diminutive midfielder Desiree Scott was fouled just outside the British 18-yard box. After both Schmidt and Sinclair stood over top of the ball, it was Sinclair that fired the ball past the goalkeeper to double Canada’s lead.
With a 2-0 lead, Canada was resolute in defence throughout the rest of the match. Erin McLeod posted the clean sheet while centre back Carmelina Moscato was selected Canada’s player of the match.
Canada fielded a starting XI with Erin McLeod in goal, Rhian Wilkinson at right back, Carmelina Moscato and Lauren Sesselmann at centre back and Marie-Eve Nault at left back. Desiree Scott, Sophie Schmidt, Diana Matheson, Christine Sinclair Melissa Tancredi and Jonelle Filigno made up the midfield and attack.
In the second half, coach John Herdman replaced Foligno with Kaylyn Kyle (61’), Schmidt with Kelly Parker (78’) and Sinclair with Brittany Timko (88’).
Great Britain went with a lineup of Karen Bardsley in goal with Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Sophie Bradley and Casey Stoney on the back line. Jill Scott, Kim Little, Anita Asante, Karen Carney, Ellen White and Eniola Aluko made up the midfield and attack.
In the second half, British coach Hope Powell replaced White with Farrah Williams (63’), Little with Rachel Williams (82’) and Bradley with Rachel Yankey (84’).
The Canada-USA semi-final will be a rematch of the two CONCACAF finalists from earlier this year. This also marks the first time since 2003 that two CONCACAF teams have reached the final four of one of the two major women’s international tournaments.
On Monday 6 August, Canada will face USA in Manchester (19.45 local) while Japan will face France in London (17.00 local). On 9 August, the two semi-final winners will play in the championship final in London while the other two will play in the match for third place in Coventry.