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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old December 16th, 2010, 10:10 Thread Starter
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Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo

December 12, 2010

Not bad for a team whose starting lineup consisted of but one regular starter (Zurrer), don't know if Timko will come back to be a starter - JM

Canada played to a 0:0 draw in women's international soccer on Wednesday 15 December 2010 against the world's number-three ranked Brazil. With the draw, Canada finished first place in its group with seven points and a +6 goal differential at the Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo. Canada finished first ahead of host Brazil who also collected seven points in three matches, but with only a +4 goal differential.

"I think we played our game," said coach Carolina Morace. "We wanted to get a result and our players did very, very well. They were aggressive and they didn't lose their position in a new formation."

With Canada already qualified for the final, coach Morace used a young squad and a new formation that "we just told them yesterday what they would have to do." The Canadian players responded magnificently and shut down the sometimes tricky Brazilian squad for 90 full minutes.

Canada and Brazil will meet again in four days on 19 December in the championship final (17.00 local / 14.00 ET / 11.00 PT).

Canada's goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was the star of the game, but she had the help of the entire team including experienced defenders Emily Zurrer and Robyn Gayle. "It was not just me, it was the whole team," said Labbé. "We just stayed composed and focus for the whole game. Any little mental lapse against Brazil and you can get beat one-on-one."

Making her third career start (second in the tournament), Labbé was sharp from the get go. One of her big saves came in the 21st minute when she collected the ball after it deflected off the post. Brazil could have easily scored on the play, but Canada's Diamond Simpson had rushed back and tipped the ball before it hit the Canadian post.

In the 28th minute, Labbé made a good save on Marta, one of several on the night.

Labbé remained strong in the second half while Brazil maintained pressure and created more chances. In the 68th minute, a sudden yet powerful shot from distance by substitute Gabriela was tipped over the crossbar by Labbé.

About 10 minutes later, a sneaky pass from the right by star Marta was stopped by Zurrer and Labbé. Zurrer was right on top of the Brazilian forward for whom the pass was intended.

"All game long, Brazil did well knocking low balls into the box," said Labbé. "We didn't let them finish."

At the other end, one of Canada's best chances came in the 85th minute on a free kick following a pair of cautions to Brazil. The direct shot by Canadian substitute Carmelina Moscato, however, was stopped. In the last five minutes, neither side could break the deadlock and the match ultimately finished in a 0:0 draw.

Morace started three teenagers as well as two 20-year old players in this match. Her starting XI featured Stephanie Labbé in goal, Brittany Timko, Emily Zurrer, Robyn Gayle and Shannon Woeller (20) at defence, and Laura Chénard (19), Christina Julien, Amélia Pietrangelo (17), Chelsea Stewart (20), Brooke McCalla and Diamond Simpson (17) from midfield through to the attack. Morace's three substitutions were Carmelina Moscato and Marie-Eve Nault at the half (for Timko and McCalla) and Diana Matheson in the 78th minute (for Julien).

As for Brazil, its starting XI featured Andreia in goal, Aline, Renata Costa, Erika and Rosana at defence, and Fabiana, Ester, Thais, Danielle, Francielle and Marta from the midfield up through to the attack. Brazil's three substitutions were Grazielle in the 16th minute (for injured Danielle), Gabriela in the 66th minute, and Marina in the 76th minute.

Canada is undefeated in nine straight matches dating back to the 30 September home victory against China PR at BMO Field (eight wins and one draw). Its 2010 record is 13 wins, two draws and two losses.

Of note in this match, Pietrangelo, Simpson and Woeller all made their first-ever starts at the international "A" level. Six players from today's Canadian lineup still have less than five international appearances to their record: Pietrangelo and Simpson with two each, Chénard with three, Labbé and Woeller with four, and McCalla with five.

Last edited by Joe MacCarthy; December 16th, 2010 at 11:50.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old December 19th, 2010, 21:37 Thread Starter
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Canada 2 - Brazil 2

Canada wins the tournament in a barn burner of a final
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old December 20th, 2010, 03:15
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Canada wins Brazil tournament

Canada won its third women’s international soccer tournament of the 2010 season, this time the four-nation Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo in Brazil. In the championship final, Canada extended its unbeaten streak to 10 matches with a 2:2 draw against the host. Both Canada and Brazil finished the tournament with two wins and two draws, but Canada lifted the trophy on account of the greater goal differential in four matches.

It was Canadian captain Christine Sinclair who made the difference once again. This time down to 10 players following an ejection and a 2-1 Brazil lead on a Marta penalty goal, Sinclair scored less than 10 minutes from the final whistle to secure the point and capture the championship.

It marks the third-straight championship match - for club and country - in which Sinclair has scored the decisive goal. She also scored the winner in the WPS championship final in September (FC Gold Pride), and in the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifier final in November (where Canada qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup)….'

In the other match on Sunday Netherlands defeated Mexico for the second-straight match, this time a 2:1 victory. The final standings were Canada, Brazil, Netherlands and Mexico. Marta was the top scorer of the tournament with six goals (two in the final) while Sinclair was second with four goals.

- based on Canadian Soccer Assn. press release
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old December 20th, 2010, 15:09 Thread Starter
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A fitting end to an excellent year for Big Red
squizz 12-19-2010

Could the year really have ended any other way for this team?

Down to 10 women, down a goal and facing a Brazilian team, a Brazilian crowd and a Brazilian referee, our ladies held things together long enough for their captain, Christine Sinclair, to pull out one of the nicest goals she's ever scored and propel Big Red to its latest piece of hardware.

A heads up, Canadian soccer fans: If you haven't done so yet, it's time to jump on the CanWNT bandwagon.

The rather remarkable final tally for our women's national team in 2010:

* 13 wins, three draws and two losses.
* 11 clean sheets, including a string of eight in a row.
* 38 goals for, 13 against.
* Three championship trophies: the Gold Cup, the Cyprus Cup and today's Torneio Internacional Cidade de Sao Paulo.

It's tough to remember, now, that the team struggled at the end of 2009 as it tried to adjust to head coach Carolina Morace. Suffice to say, as our ladies head into next year's Women's World Cup with a full head of steam, any worries about Morace's tactics and techniques have definitively been put to rest.

Morace has not only brought out the best in team stalwarts like Sinclair and Diana Matheson, she's also worked hard to build the team's depth, giving opportunities to newer players like Jonelle Filigno, Kaylyn Kyle and -- as we saw during the Sao Paulo tournament -- Stephanie Labbe.

Sunday's result was massive not just because it keeps the team's momentum rolling heading toward Germany 2011, but it also provided the team with some real adversity for the first time in a few months. The Brazilians showed some fancy footwork (to the delight of the crowd, and the commentators) and stretched Canada's back four with their speed. But the team stayed organized enough to keep Marta and the girls off the score sheet in the first half, and then showed the needed resilience to grab the late equalizer.

Josee Belanger got at least three quality chances at goal in the opening 45, and managed to bury one just before the interval, converting a cross from a resurgent Melissa Tancredi. Belanger is another player who's burst onto the scene in 2010 -- given her performances, she's already become an indispensable part of the squad's attack. For what it's worth I think it's great, in terms of the team's national profile, to have a Quebecois player making such important contributions.

But another Quebecois member of the team made some unfortunate negative contributions on Sunday. Marie-Eve Nault was victimized twice by dubious decisions from the hometown ref. She earned her first yellow card early in the second half, after supposedly wasting time while taking a throw-in. Then she picked up her second yellow, and was sent off, for having the audacity to let the ball inadvertently strike her arm while she was in the area.

Marta converted the ensuing penalty, and looked to put things right in the footie universe, giving Brazil the 2-1 lead. But along came Marta's erstwhile WPS teammate, Captain Sinclair, to recalibrate that little universe.

Sinclair has 112 goals to her name as a member of the Canadian team, but few were as pretty -- and as clutch -- as her strike on Sunday. You can take a look for yourself in the highlight vid at the end of this post.

On Part 4 of our year-in-review podcast series, our guest (Ingrid Green) predicted that Canada would win the 2015 Women's World Cup. I reacted with surprise since, no matter what gender or age division you're talking about, saying that Canada will win a World Cup in soccer is a pretty bold statement.

But after Sunday's performance in Brazil, and putting the year in perspective, my shock at hearing that claim has almost completely dissipated. In fact, if Ingrid or anyone else were to start making the argument that Canada could win the 2011 Women's World Cup... I'm pretty sure I'd hear them out.

If this all sounds like I'm cheerleading... it's because I am. Because someone needs to do it.

It's bad enough that non-soccer fans continue perpetuating the outdated, idiotic cliche that Canada sucks at soccer and no one cares. But all too often, even actual Canadian supporters fall into the trap of being self-loathing or apologetic about rooting for our teams.

The women's national team's performance in 2010 can hopefully lay to rest all of those tired, bull$hit arguments... this team is, as Sinclair says, "really good." And as for whether people care? On an NFL Sunday, where sports fans' attentions are surely pretty divided, the CanWNT hashtag on Twitter was trending second in the country (trailing only NFL star Michael Vick). For you Twitterphobes, that's a good thing.

So it's time to step out of the shadows, folks. There's nothing wrong with you if you openly support the Canadian women's national team.

Hell, given the way they've been playing, there might be something wrong with you if you don't.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old December 20th, 2010, 15:19 Thread Starter
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Christine Sinclair has done it again. This time, down to 10 players with less than 10 minutes on the clock, Sinclair fired a cracker of a goal from the top of the 18-yard box to clinch the Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo in Brazil. The final score on this day was 2:2 between Canada and host Brazil. Canada won the Four Nations tournament, though, with the greater goal difference over four matches: both teams posted two wins and two draws, but Canada was +6 while Brazil was +4.

Josée Bélanger opened the scoring in the 43rd minute, shortly before the end of the first half. Marta then scored a pair of goals in the second half, the second of which was on a penalty following a hand ball and ejection to defender Marie-Eve Nault. Sinclair scored the final goal in the 83rd minute.

Canada went down to 10 players in the 71st minute following Nault's ejection. She had already been shown one yellow card in the 65th minute, so when a direct shot from just a few metres in front of her smacked her hand, the referee called the penalty and Nault was sent to the dressing room. Marta immediately made it 2-1 on the penalty, directing her kick into the left corner of the net past Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.

Down to 10 players, Canada never gave up. In the last 20 minutes, Canada created three good chances, including the terrific goal by Sinclair in the 83rd minute. Brazil also created chances at the other end, but Labbé was too good for Brazil to regain the lead.

Labbé was strong throughout the tournament, starting three of four matches including both against Brazil. Her play in the previous match won her another start in the 19 December championship final; her play in the opening 15 minutes of the final confirmed the coach's decision.

With the exception of an opportunity by Sinclair in the opening minute, it was all Brazil with the chances in the first 15 minutes. Labbé and her Canadian defence squashed several opportunities created by Brazil's dangerous attackers such as Marta and Gabriela.

As the first half progressed, Canada found a way to turn the tide in their favour, finally quieting the crowd of 17,264 in the 43rd minute with the header by Bélanger. It was a Tancredi cross from the left side that led to the Bélanger goal.

Brazil's first goal came in the 55th minute after Marta blew through the Canadian defence. Ahead of her opponents in the Canadian box, she fired a shot past Labbé for the 1-1 equaliser. Her second goal came 17 minutes later on the penalty kick.

In the championship final, Canada's starting XI featured Stephanie Labbé in goal, Rhian Wilkinson, Emily Zurrer, Candace Chapman and Marie-Eve Nault at defence, and Diana Matheson, Kaylyn Kyle, Carmelina Moscato, Christine Sinclair, Josée Bélanger and Melissa Tancredi from midfield up through to the attack. Coach Morace's two substitutions were Robyn Gayle in the 74th minute (for Chapman) and Chelsea Stewart in the 85th minute (for Tancredi).

Brazil's starting XI featured Andreia in goal, Aline, Renata Costa, Erika and Rosana at defence, and Fabiana, Thais, Ester, Gabriela, Formiga and Marta from the midfield up through to the attack. Brazil's three substitutions were Marina in the 30th minute (for injured Renata Costa) and Daniele and Andrei Rosa both in the 46th minute (for Erika and Thais).

Sinclair's goal in the 83rd minute was the 13th of her season in 16 matches. Sinclair now has 112 goals on the international stage. Canada, meanwhile, tied a national record with its 10th straight match without a loss (eight wins and two draws). It also finished 2010 with its best statistical record in Association history (13 wins, three draws and two losses).
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old December 20th, 2010, 22:49
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Carolina Morace deserves a lot of credit for rescuing the Canadian team from the morass created for it by Even Pellerud. The offence is much better organized and more effective - and more fun to watch.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old December 21st, 2010, 21:56 Thread Starter
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Good highlight package here (starts at 35 seconds)
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