Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Beckie on Target as Canadian Women Defeat Sweden in Soccer Friendly

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Beckie on Target as Canadian Women Defeat Sweden in Soccer Friendly

Article excerpt

Canada defeats Sweden in women's soccer

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TRELLEBORG, Sweden - Facing its biggest challenge since last summer's Olympics, Canada dispatched Rio runner-up Sweden 1-0 in a women's soccer friendly Thursday.

Janine Beckie's 34th-minute strike proved to be the difference on a cold, windy day before a crowd of just over 2,000.

"We talked about the importance of the first goal at this level and we took the advantage in the first half," said Canadian coach John Herdman. "I thought we played some great football ... Some of the combination play was as good as I've seen against a Tier 1 team.

"To trump Sweden here, this is a really significant result for us just in terms of momentum."

The challenge gets bigger for the Canadian women, who won bronze in Rio. They wrap up their European tour Sunday against Olympic champion and world No. 1 Germany in Erfurt.

Canada faced the Germans twice at the Olympics, winning 2-1 in group play and losing 2-0 in the semifinal.

Canada, ranked fifth in the world, had the better of the first half Thursday but had to defend stoutly in the dying minutes as the Swedes, tied with Japan at No. 6, looked to rally. Sweden came close twice in stoppage time, but a header off a corner flashed just wide and a subsequent shot was off target.

Herdman said his team went into "game management mode" in the second half.

"We said to the team 'Once we get to that 60th (minute) mark, just be smart, let's manage this game.' And to be fair, I don't think Steph (goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe) had a save to make. I don't know if Sweden has a shot on target, which is good to see how well the girls defended in that final third (of the game).

"I'm just really happy. Really happy."

It was Canada's first match since finishing runner-up at the Algarve Cup in March.

The lone goal of the game started with Deanne Rose finding captain Christine Sinclair just outside the penalty box.

Sinclair, showing sublime skill, took the ball with her right foot and popped it into the air to her left foot which she used to slice open the defence with a deft pass to Beckie. …

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