Canada's soccer women advance to Algarve Cup final

Canada will defend its Algarve Cup title against Spain after advancing to the final with a 0-0 draw with Portugal on Monday. The Canadian women are defending champions at the 12-team soccer tournament, dispatching Brazil in last year's championship game.

Defending champions will face Spain on Wednesday

Kadeisha Buchanan, left, vies for possiession during Canada's draw with host Portugal at the Algarve Cup on Monday. (Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada will defend its Algarve Cup title against Spain after advancing to the final with a 0-0 draw with Portugal on Monday.

The fourth-ranked Canadian women dominated play against No. 38 Portugal but were unable to beat goalkeeper Patricia Morais.

"They had a 'keeper who stood on her head today, pulled off about four really world-class saves. You don't often see that at this level," said Canadian coach John Herdman. "It was a stubborn opponent.

"Our 'keeper [Sabrina D'Angelo] didn't have a shot to save. We just couldn't put them away. It was one of those days."

The final is scheduled for Wednesday.

Portugal had lost its two previous games, outscored by a combined 7-0 by No. 15 Denmark and No. 23 Russia.

Herdman was able to take positives from giving 21-year-old fullback Lindsay Agnew her first cap off the bench. And the fact that Canada only needed a tie to advance to the final.

"I'm never happy with a draw but at the end of the day the goal was just to take sure we got into that final and get ourselves set up to have a competitive match against the Spanish now," he said.

Spain, ranked 14th, finished with the same 2-0-1 record as Canada after tying 20th-ranked Iceland 0-0 Monday. The Spanish women defeated No. 7 Japan 2-1 and No. 11 Norway 3-0.

"This is going to be a tough game," said Herdman. "We haven't been able to rest too many of or key players because of some injuries."

Fullback Allysha Chapman has a hamstring injury while attacking midfielder Sophie Schmidt had to leave the last game with a facial injury. Herdman hopes both will be back for Wednesday's final.

Attacking midfielder Diana Matheson tore up her knee in training before the tournament.

The absences meant opportunities for some young members of the squad.

Alex Lamontagne, 20, who won her first cap against Russia, started Monday at wide forward. Gabrielle Carle, 18, returning from injury, started in midfield while 19-year-old Marie Levasseur opened at fullback.

Canada defeated Denmark 1-0 and Russia 2-1 in earlier tournament play. Captain Christine Sinclair scored the winning goal in both games with Schmidt also scoring against Russia.

The Canadian women dispatched Brazil in last year's championship game.


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