Teams: Toronto FC, Fiorentina, Barça
Hermus' goal gives Canadian women a 2-1 victory over Brazil
By BILL BEACON
July 17, 2003
MONTREAL (CP) - The women's World Cup looms and Canada's team is getting hot.
Randee Hermus headed in the game-winner in the 87th minute as Canada posted a comeback 2-1 victory over Brazil in a World Cup tune-up match before 12,245 spectators at Molson Stadium on Thursday night.
"It's awesome," said Hermus, a defender from Langley, B.C., who leapt amid a crowd in front of Brazilian goalkeeper Giselle to nudge a 35-yard free kick from Kristina Kiss of Ottawa into the net.
"I just went up between two defenders and got my head on it."
Rhian Wilkinson of Montreal tied the game in the 67th minute after Brazil's Tatiana opened the scoring in the second minute of the second half.
It was a fifth consecutive win for coach Even Pellerud's side in warm-ups for the Sept. 20 to Oct. 12 World Cup in the United States. Canada plays a second friendly against Brazil on Sunday in Ottawa.
"The main thing for us was not to get depressed and come back and battle back the way we did," said Pellerud.
The first ever FIFA world rankings for women's soccer released on Wednesday. Brazil was rated sixth and Canada 12th.
When defender Tatiana followed in on a rush down the right side by Rafaela and hit a shot into the near post past 'keeper Karina Leblanc of Maple Ridge, B.C., it looked like Brazil had taken control.
But a blast from the right side by teenaged phenom Kara Lang of Oakville, Ont., went off Giselle's fingertips and dropped onto the goal line, where Wilkinson knocked it into the open goal.
Wilkinson, 21, played only her second international match for Canada. She came on in the 25th minute when forward Amber Allen of Vancouver left with a right knee injury.
Earlier Thursday, the draw for the World Cup was held and Canada was delighted to find itself in a group with powerful Germany, middling Japan and lowly Argentina. Canada believes it should finish in the top two and advance to the quarter-finals.
"We are so psyched," said Lang, 16. "This was a huge success.
"It seems we're improving every day. With everything we do we seem to be a step closer to our goal."
Luis Miguel of the Brazilian Football Federation was upset that the match was played on an artificial surface. It was the first soccer game at Molson Stadium since it was refitted with FieldTurf this summer.
"In the World Cup, we won't play on this type of grass," said Luis Migual through an interpreter, adding that Brazil agreed to play "because it was a big game for Canada and because 12,000 people had bought tickets.
"This match is preparation for the World Cup and we want to play on the same type of field. This grass leads to a physical game. It's dangerous."
Sunday's match will also be on Fieldturf at Ottawa's Frank Clair Stadium.
There was pushing, pulling and - from Brazil - plenty of theatrical rolling on the turf with questionable injuries in the first half.
Later in the game, it got nasty.
The free kick leading to the winning goal came after a shoving match between several players at the sideline. There was more pushing and trash talking after the goal.
A minute later, Tatiana was shown the red card.
"That's what we expected," added Lang. "We gave as good as we got."
The painted-over football lines were barely visible on the field, but the on-field ads were left on with permission from FIFA because it was a friendly match.
Notes: Canada was missing key veterans Charmaine Hooper (club commitments), Sharolta Nonen (hamstring), Breanna Boyd (concussion) Christine Sinclair (illness), and Christine Latham (club). Star striker Pretinha, who injured a knee in a 1-0 loss to the U.S. on Sunday, missed for Brazil. Luis Miguel said Pretinha would be out of action for seven months.
Typical Brazilian antics! They are such cheaters and whiners!
What's that crap about Field Turf? It's a surface approved by FIFA, for god's sake!