Posted on August 9, 2012
LONDON — It’s gold medal hopes tarnished by what they claimed to be controversial and questionable rulings by the referee, the Canadian women will vie for the bronze medal in the Olympic soccer tournament on Thursday.
Canada, coming off that excruciating and disappointing 4-3 extratime loss to the United States, will face France for its first Olympic medal in the sport in Coventry.
“It is going to be a hell of a game,” Canada coach John Herdman said on Wednesday. “France beat us 4-0 in the World Cup and 2-0 in the Cyprus Cup. We are going in as underdogs again and I hope the underdog spirit comes out like it did against the USA.”
The semifinal defeat in Manchester was taxing, physically (120 minutes) and emotionally. After the match, several Canadian players, including captain and striker Christine Sinclair and goalkeper Erin McLeod and Herdman were critical of referee Cristina Pedersen.
According to one source, one Canadian player had a verbal altercation in the tunnel at Old Trafford with Pedersen. A FIFA official said that no sancitions, if any will be, would be meted out prior to the third-place game.
“We have officially moved on,” Herdman said. “There was a lot of emotion around that game and you have to give players time to get over that stuff.
“This morning we regrouped. We got a nice message from our prime minister (Stephen Harper). The girls realize they have touched a lot of people in Canada with their performance and it has given them that motivation to win a bronze medal.”
Asked about the possibility of Sinclair holding the Canadian flag during Saturday’s closing ceremonies, Herdman was hopeful.
“She is just a special woman, a legend in the game, but just one of those people that is a quiet achiever,” he said. “To put the flag up in the air and lead her country round would be a fantastic honor.
“To score a hat-trick in the semifinal against your greatest rival – cometh the hour, cometh the woman.”
But first things first. To accomplish that, the Canadians would have to beat France and earn that bronze medal.
John Herdman: “We have officially moved on,” Herdman said. “There was a lot of emotion around that game and you have to give players time to get over that stuff. YCJ
Categories: Canada, North America, Olympic Qualifying, Women
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, Christine Sinclair, Cristina Pedersen, Erin McLed, John Herdman, Stephen Harper