Justin Trudeau takes selfies with Canadian women's soccer team ahead of Brazil rematch
'Wait, a group picture on Parliament Hill without me?'
The Canadian women's soccer team did a little sightseeing and rubbed shoulders with the prime minister Monday before getting down to business — preparing for Tuesday's rematch with Brazil.
On a morning trip to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the women even managed to get a broad smile out of a police officer wielding an automatic weapon as several players showed off their muscles next to him.
The team was posing for a group photo in front of Parliament when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Carla Qualtrough, the minister of sport and persons with disabilities, appeared from behind in a high-profile photo op that the players had not known about.
"Wait, a group picture on Parliament Hill without me?" the prime minister quipped as the surprised team cheered and clapped.
"I know you're cheering for Carla," Trudeau added.
He shook hands with the entire team, pausing longer with captain Christine Sinclair to thank her for her leadership. Sinclair, in turn, gave him a team jersey with his name on it. Qualtrough also got a jersey.
Trudeau then got in the middle of the group photo before posing for selfies with the team.
Big things ahead this summer for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CANWNT?src=hash">#CANWNT</a>. Best of luck and thanks for the jersey <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN">@CanadaSoccerEN</a>! <a href="https://t.co/Lj8QXuq6a2">pic.twitter.com/Lj8QXuq6a2</a>—@JustinTrudeau
While Ottawa hosted games at last summer's World Cup, Canada has not played in the capital since a 2-1 win over Brazil in July 2003.
John Herdman's squad will be looking for a win Tuesday at TD Place after losing to the host of the upcoming Olympics 2-0 Saturday in Toronto.
Initial reviews of the BMO Field performance were pessimistic, but Herdman and his players saw more positives in the light of day.
Sinclair, for one, calls Brazil one of the favourites to win Olympic gold at home.
"They're one of the best teams in the world," she said prior to training Monday. "These are the teams that we're going to have to beat if we want to get back on the podium."
Sinclair said she believes her team has the potential to excel, following on the heels of the bronze medal-winning squad she led in London four years ago.
"We got on a roll at the right time," she said of the last Olympics. "And hopefully, this team can do the same. I think we're a lot more dangerous this time around. We've added a lot of pace, a lot of young players that are doing tremendously for us. And it's just a matter of can we put it together at the right time like we did in London."
Still there are no easy games in women's soccer these days, she said.
"Now, you look at the field and you've got eight to 10 teams that could get on the podium. Eight years ago, you pretty much knew who was going to win before the tournament started."