Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Women’s Football
Chile vs Canada
July 21, 2021 at 3:30 am EST/4:30 pm JST
Sapporo Dome in Sapporo, Japan
Watch Live: CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Olympics app, CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website.
Matchday two of Canada’s run at the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Football tournament kicks off on Saturday, with a game against Chile.
After a 1-1 draw with Japan, a slightly disappointing result given Canada were leading for most of the first 85 minutes, Canada will be looking for all three points against a good team, but one they’re expected to beat. Chile held their own against a very strong Great Britain team, and while they did end up losing 2-0, they showed a resilience that will keep them in any game.
These sides have only met once before — a 1-0 Chile victory in a match at a friendly tournament in Brazil in 2013. Yanara Aedo was the goalscorer for Chile in that match, and is a part of this roster in Japan, so Canada will need to keep an eye on the 27-year-old Rayo Vallecano midfielder.
Two other Chile players play in Primera División — defender Javiera Toro of Sevilla and Aedo’s Rayo Vallecano teammate, also a defender, Camila Sáez. Forward Daniela Zamora plays for Swedish club Djurgårdens, while captain and superstar goalkeeper Christiane Endler (more on her in a minute) recently made the move to Olympique Lyonnais from Paris Saint-Germain. The rest of the team plays in the country’s domestic league, with the exception of Nayadet López, who is currently without a club after leaving Santa Teresa CD, who were recently relegated from the Spanish top flight.
This is Chile’s first Olympics, two years after they made their Women’s World Cup debut. The women’s national team in Chile has been through a lot over the past decade or so — the Chilean governing body essentially neglected the women’s team, leading to them playing zero competitive matches for a few years, and being taken off the FIFA rankings leaderboard due to their inactivity. At the behest of a union of players themselves, Chile reformed their team and played a competitive match again in 2017, and have been on an upwards trajectory since. Currently ranked 37th in the world, they reached a peak of 36th in late 2019.
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It will be far from an easy match for Canada, but the group are confident, and expecting to come away with a big result.
“Chile will not be an easy team to beat,” said Canada head coach Bev Priestman in a press release. “They are a resilient team, they are aggressive, they like to player-mark, and that is not a style Canada is used to playing with. We will need to be clinical and have the right mindset, but I do believe we can get the three points.”
“I think it is going to be a competitive, hard-fought match,” added midfielder Desiree Scott. “It’s their first Olympic tournament and they have nothing to lose. Physically, we will have to battle and go toe-to-toe with them. We will have to be confident in our attack and defensively not allowing them anything.”
With the group of defenders Canada have available to them, a clean sheet is in the cards, especially after holding off a stronger Japanese attack for 85 minutes. The question will be whether Canada can break down a strong Chilean backline, and beat arguably the world’s best goalkeeper.
Christine Sinclair was again the goalscorer for Canada in her 300th match for Canada, and will need to be sharp again in match number 301, while Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince impressed as inverted wingers on either side of her. Beckie scored in the second half against Japan, but the goal was called back as she was wrongly judged to be offside. It was a moment of bad luck for Canada, who will be hoping to create more chances on Saturday and pick up the three points that would put them in a good spot to qualify for the quarterfinals.