Canada has faced the USWNT in two unforgettable matches at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
The Canadian women’s national team wants to change history.
Twice denied by the U.S. women’s national team in their last two Olympic confrontations, Canada is looking to change the color of their Olympic medals.
The Maple Leafs, who were defeated by the USA in the 2008 quarterfinals and in an epic encounter in the 2012 semifinals, have earned the bronze medal at the 2012 and 2016 Summer games.
The two North American rivals will clash at Kashima Stadium in Kashima, Japan in the Tokyo Olympic semifinals Monday at 4 a.m. ET.
The winners advance to the gold medal match in Tokyo Aug. 6, while the loser will playing for the bronze in Kashima Aug. 5.
“I’m excited for this match,” head coach Bev Priestman said. “Of course, there is the Canada-USA rivalry that is driving this group, but more importantly, this is the game that will help us change the color of the medal, and I think this is what motivates the group more than anything. The players want to change the game in Canada like they did when they won their first bronze medal, and that is enough for this group to go and put out a performance that players didn’t think they had.”
Priestman will be the only female head coach directing a team in the semifinals.
Canada have played the USA 61 times since 1986, most recently in the opening match of the SheBelieves Cup in February., which ended up in 1-0 USWNT win for USA.
When Canada lost to the Americans in the 2012 semifinals, captain Christine Sinclair recorded a hat-trick while record average audience of 2.4 million viewers watched the moment on TSN in Canada.
“All of us remember that 2012 match, it was a pretty incredible moment for Canadian soccer,” Canada midfielder Desiree Scott said. “But our team is completely different now. We developed as a program, the brand of soccer that we play has really evolved. We are a more confident group, and I think our edge will come from the belief that we have in ourselves. In 2012 we were hopeful that we could get to the Final, but now we believe in what we can do on a soccer pitch, and we truly believe that we can get to the gold medal match.”
Canada, which is undefeated at Tokyo 2020, reached the Olympic semifinals a third consecutive time. The Canadians are the only country to reach the podium at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in women’s soccer. The team is hoping to make history by getting back on the podium for a third consecutive time.