The third time did not bring any charm for Canada in Tuesday’s Cyprus Cup final. Canada’s bid for a third-straight tournament championship failed on Tuesday with a 2-0 loss to France in the final.
Marie-Laure Delie opened the scoring for the French in the 31st minute after Canada defender Desiree Scott was dispossessed in the back. Fellow star attacker Louisa Necib converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute to double France’s lead after Rhian Wilkinson brought down Sonia Bompastor in the box.
For the French, the victory confirms what was already known: The surprise fourth place finishers at the 2011 World Cup are serious medal contenders in London. Necib, Delie and Gaetane Thiney combine to be perhaps the most promising and underrated young combination of creative attackers in the world. They are technical, athletic, and still under the radar (although that is changing quickly).
What’s more, the French do not have to worry about mighty Germany in London. By way of being the two European teams to advance the farthest in the 2011 World Cup (many thanks owed to Japan), France and Sweden are headed to the Olympics this summer, not the Germans. Just the mathematical odds are nice: 1-in-12. Factor in the strength of the French side and this summer could be a proper coming out party for Les Bleues.
Canada, meanwhile, failed to avenge its World Cup loss to France, which trounced the North American side 4-0 in the group stage last year. The Canadians continue to seek consistency. They are no doubt among the best in the world, but they have now been dominated in two finals over the course of five weeks by equally strong or better teams – first by the U.S. in Olympic qualifying and now by France.
Redemption was not meant to be for Canada on Tuesday, just as it was not for the United States against Japan on Monday. There is one more high profile chance for that on Wednesday in the Algarve Cup final when Germany gets a shot at title holders Japan. USA-Sweden could be a dandy, too.
3rd place match: Italy 3-1 England
5th place match: Finland 1-1 South Korea (South Korea wins 7-6 on penalty kicks)
7th place match: Holland 2-2 New Zealand (Holland wins 4-2 on penalty kicks)
9th place match: Scotland 2-0 South Africa
11th place match: Switzerland 5-0 Northern Ireland
Olympic foresight: Don’t expect much from South Africa or New Zealand (pending qualification) in London. South Africa is a long shot and New Zealand has a way of hanging around in games against better opposition, but still hasn’t found a way to finish the job.
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