Canada and France were both denied a place in the final of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament at London 2012 by narrow margins, though the two sides must now pick themselves up ahead of their bronze-medal match at the City of Coventry Stadium to avoid going home empty-handed.
Canada - France, City of Coventry Stadium, Coventry, Thursday 9 August, 13:00 (local time)
The pair’s semi-final clashes were both keenly contested affairs, with Canada in particular only edged out after a drama-filled encounter against USA. Striker Christine Sinclair put the Canucks ahead three times, only for the Stars and Stripes to level on each occasion and go on to grab the winner in the dying seconds of extra time via the head of Alex Morgan. The French, for their part, went two goals down against Japan but fought back to reduce the deficit to 2-1 and subsequently could have drawn level but for a missed penalty.
Canada and France recently went head-to-head at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011, where the European side thrashed their North American opponents 4-0 thanks to goals from Gaetane Thiney (2), Camille Abily and Elodie Thomis. What is more, Les Bleues have another statistic in their favour: the bronze medal at every previous edition of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament to date has gone to a team from Europe. In 1996 that was Norway, while in 2000, 2004 and 2008 the final place on the podium was taken by Germany.
8 - Canada and France have met on eight previous occasions and honours could not be more even, with both sides winning three times and sharing two draws.
"I wouldn't want to be the team that plays us next. I've never been so proud of the team. Even with this [semi-final] result and knowing that we are not playing for gold, I wouldn't change a thing," Canada striker Christine Sinclair.
"Because we came fourth in the World Cup [in 2011], it’s very important to us to bring something back from the Olympics. We cannot get gold now but we'll be going hard for the bronze medal," France midfielder Sandrine Soubeyrand.