Canadian Olympic Preview 2024: Women’s Soccer

Jessie Fleming (Hameltion, Wikimedia Commons)

The Canadian National Women’s Soccer team is quite challenging to figure out. Over the last dozen years, they have performed admirably at the Olympic Games, but not at the Women’s World Cup. What we saw three years ago at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, was quite simply extraordinary.

The Canadian squad finished in second place in Group E thanks to a key 2-1 win over Chile, and two draws against Japan and the United States. Then in the quarterfinals, Canada won a dramatic game on penalties against Brazil. That was followed by a thrilling 1-0 win over the United States and a gold medal win over Sweden, that also went to a shootout. The win over the Americans was monumental as it was only Canada’s fourth win over the USA in women’s soccer ever.

The Canadian star at the last Olympic Games was quite simply midfielder Jessie Fleming of London, Ontario. Fleming had the two goals in regulation on penalties for Canada in the dramatic wins over the United States and Sweden. However at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia, Fleming was not 100%. She was unable to play against Nigeria due to an injury, and as a result Canada failed to beat Nigeria as they came away with a 0-0 draw. Then after Canada beat Ireland 2-1 on a game-winning goal by Adriana Leon of Mississauga, Ontario, the Canadian team played its worst international game in years as they were thumped by Australia 4-0. As a result, the Olympic champions did not get out of the group stage.

We expect to see a healthy Fleming which is massive. It will be interesting to see if Fleming takes over from the retired Christine Sinclair from a leadership perspective, at least a little bit. These shoes are gigantic as Sinclair was the most prolific goal scorer women’s soccer has ever seen.

The Canadian women’s soccer team in Paris will be a veteran group, as 13 players won gold in Tokyo. Don’t expect a lot of goals from this group, but if Canada hopes to get to the knockout stage, we will need to see better defense than what we saw against Australia.

Canada qualified for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris by beating Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate in a CONCACAF Playoff. In Group A, they will play New Zealand on July 25 at 9 am MT, France on July 28 at 1pm MT, and Colombia on July 31 at 1pm MT. A medal is not expected, but a medal was not expected at the last three Olympic Games either, and Canada came away with one gold and two bronze.

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