Canada Comes out on the Right Side of a Stoppage-Time Goal to Win First Medal


Canada 1:0 France

By Kara McDermott

Petite Diana Matheson will be wearing some big jewelry on her trip home after her stoppage time goal against France earned Canada its first medal in a major tournament.

France was once again pushed off the podium with a late minute attack. They finished fourth in last year’s World Cup off of an 82nd minute goal by Marie Hammarstrom of Sweden.

With the teams fighting through visibly leaden legs, Canada held off a late surge by France in the last twenty minutes before capitalizing on a transition play a minute and a half into stoppage time.

Sophie Schmidt took a shot in the center of the penalty area. The heroics of a defender went awry when the deflection headed towards Matheson, who buried a low shot into the far post with mere seconds left to play.

The French players sat dazed on the carpet after the final whistle, grappling with a game that slipped through their fingers. In fact, France looked to have the advantage for much of the run of play. Most of the game was played on the Canadian end.

The Maple Leafs were calm and collected on defense, knocking the ball around with clean passes and not allowing too many real threats on goal. The ones that came were handled by goalkeeper Erin McLeod who was instrumental in keeping the score line even for so long.

However, where the Canadians have continued to struggle is with possession on their offensive half. Their attacks come quick and end quick, often on long balls up the line looking for breakaways. Their offensive effort consisted of one play at goal at a time, instead of putting the lid on the pot and simmering in front of the goal. There was little support from behind the front line to create a foundation for consistent attack.

Schmidt and Desiree Scott in the central midfield were the glue that held the Canadians together for so long. Scott even saved a shot by deflecting an attempt by Corine Franco off of a corner kick in the 70th minute.

Even crueler to the French today was the placement of the two posts and the crossbar. Furious attempts by Louisa Necib, Elodie Thomis, Gaetane Thiney, Eugenie Le Sommer flew wide, over and off the posts time and again.

It was the Canadian defensive efforts that won the game today to the unbridled joy of John Herdman’s squad. After spending years clawing their way up to the top levels of play, they finally have some hardware to show for it.


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