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Canadian women's soccer team blanked in Algarve Cup opener by Denmark

Nadia Nadim scored in the 56th minute to lead Denmark to a 1-0 win over Canada on Wednesday in the opening match for both teams at the Algarve Cup women's soccer tournament in Albufeira, Portugal.

Sinclair, Wilkinson didn't enter match until 68th minute

Canada's Christine Sinclair didn't enter Wednesday's Algrave Cup opener until the 68th minute and was unable to help the women's squad draw the equalizer in a 1-0 loss in Albufeira, Portugal. Coach John Herdman opted for a young starting 11 with Rhian Wilkinson also not entering the game until the 68th minute. Canada is ranked 11th in the world while Denmark is No. 15. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press/File)

Unable to convert scoring chances, Canada dropped its Algarve Cup women's soccer opener in a 1-0 loss to Denmark.

It was the first game for the Canadian women since the CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying championship last month in Texas. Canada, which booked its ticket to Rio by defeating Costa Rica in the semifinals, romped through the pool stages of that tournament before losing 2-0 to the top-ranked U.S. in the final.

Canada is ranked 11th in the world while Denmark is No. 15.

"There were some good performances," Canadian coach John Herdman said after Wednesday's match in Albufeira, Portugal. "But it was just same old Canada — we're not scoring. When we get great opportunities, we've got to take them ... We had chances to take and we just didn't put them away so I know the girls will be working on that when we get back to training."

Sinc makes a difference. Whenever she's off the pitch or on the pitch, you can tell.- Canadian women's soccer coach John Herdman on captain Christine Sinclair, who is nursing a calf injury

Herdman opted for a young starting 11 at Albufeira Stadium with captain Christine Sinclair, who is nursing a calf injury, coming on in the 68th minute along with Rhian Wilkinson.

"Sinc makes a difference," Herdman said. "Whenever she's off the pitch or on the pitch, you can tell."

Ashley Lawrence, normally a midfielder, was given a start with fullback. Teenagers Deanne Rose and Jessie Fleming also started.

Herdman called the Danish goal "very soft — off a couple of ricochets."

Nadia Nadim, who scored the Danish goal in the 56th minute, was born in Afghanistan but fled the country after her father was killed. She arrived in Denmark with her mother and sisters at the age of 12, earning Danish citizenship at 18.

Wednesday's game marked just the fifth meeting between the two teams. Canada lost the first two, in 1995 and '96, but won the next two in 2000 and '05.

Canada faces No. 28 Belgium on Friday before wrapping up pool play Monday against No. 19 Iceland. Wednesday's other game saw Iceland defeat Belgium 2-1.

The other tournament group features No. 7 Brazil, No. 16 New Zealand, No. 22 Russia and No. 40 Portugal.

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