CANADA VS. GERMANY
Women's Olympic Soccer, Rio 2016 - Group F
Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, Brasilia, Brazil
Tues., August 9, 2016, 3 pm ET
TV: Sportsnet, CBC.ca in Canada; NBCSN, NBC Olympic Soccer Channel in US
With two wins from two games to open the Olympic competition, Canada's women's national team are now looking to make a bit of history.
Head coach John Herdman’s side leads Group F with six points, ahead of Germany with four points. Canada have already locked up a place in the quarterfinals, and a draw on Tuesday would be enough for the team to win their group for the first time ever in the Olympic Games.
That will be no easy task against the No. 2-ranked Germans who, despite needing a late goal just to snatch a draw against Australia on Saturday, will still come into this match as favorites. While both teams will want to finish the group stage with some momentum, neither will want to expose their top players to injuries or potential disciplinary trouble ahead of the knockout stages.
And given that these two teams could very well meet again just seven days later, in the semifinal, neither manager will want to fully tip their tactical hand either. It should be fascinating matchup between a pair of teams that came into Rio with eyes on reaching the podium.
A draw would not only clinch Canada the group, it would be the first point the team has ever gained from the Germans. The two teams have met 12 times before, dating back to 1994, and Germany have won every single game, outscoring Canada 38-13.
The last matchup was a friendly at Vancouver’s BC Place in June 2014, a 2-1 win for Germany. Canada’s goalscorer that day was Sophie Schmidt, one of 10 players from that game who are on this year’s Olympic roster.
Herdman will start his third different central defensive pairing of these Games, as Shelina Zadorsky will return from suspension (picked up for a red card against Australia) to line up alongside Rebecca Quinn.
For the first time in seemingly forever, Kadeisha Buchanan won’t be in the lineup for Canada, as she’ll serve a one-game suspension for receiving two yellow cards in Canada’s first two group-stage games.
The nature of Buchanan’s yellow against Zimbabwe (an entirely unnecessary failure to give 10 yards on a free kick) raised some suspicions that it was a tactical decision to ensure she’d be available for the quarterfinals. Be that as it may, the Germany game will be a chance for Zadorsky and Quinn to show which of them should join Buchanan on the back line in that knockout-stage match.
Send in the kids
Herdman has made no secret of his plan to provide some rest to key starters in this match, with Canada’s spot in the quarterfinals already assured. In place of captain Christine Sinclair, fans might expect to see an Olympic debutante such as Nichelle Prince or Deanne Rose (who, at 17, is the youngest member of the Canadian team).
One big decision will be the status of Janine Beckie, the 21-year-old striker who’s scored three goals in Canada’s first two games. Start her against Germany, to keep her momentum going, or provide some rest ahead of the crucial quarterfinal showdown?