Saturday 08 May 2021, 05:03

Schmidt sends Canucks into semis

Canada progressed to the semi-final of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 with a 1-0 victory over France in Sao Paulo courtesy of Sophie Schmidt's second half strike. The Canucks will face Germany in a repeat of the Group F match in Brasilia earlier in the tournament, after a tense and tight win against Les Bleueus.

The first half saw both teams apply pressure high up the pitch, looking to regain possession as swiftly as possible after losing the ball. It made for a fascinating spectacle, albeit bereft of clear-cut opportunities.

Early in the opening period, Janine Beckie made a swift passing exchange with Alysha Chapman on the right wing, with the full-back making her way to the byline before firing a low cross into Christine Sinclair. Les Rouges' skipper hit a first-time shot, but the effort went wide of the right-hand post.

Eugenie Le Sommer was the focal point in France's attack, with Philippe Bergeroo's side working hard down both flanks to supply their No9, but chances were few and far between for the Lyon forward.

Due to the lack of opportunities, the game needed a player to create something out of nothing, and Beckie did just that in the second half. Receiving the ball on the right wing, the lively No14 lifted the ball over the head of Sakina Karchaoui before hitting a lobbed cross to the back post. Schmidt followed in superbly and hit the ball powerfully into the roof of the net.

France applied further pressure throughout the second half, but could not find their way through a resolute Canadian defence, which held on to claim a first clean sheet since their opening victory against Australia.

The result pits John Herdman against Silvia Neid exactly one week after their last meeting, with the Germans looking to avenge their 2-1 defeat in the group stages on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.