Soccer

Canada's soccer women tripped by Brazil

Canada's women's national soccer team was edged by host team Brazil 2-1 in an international tournament in Natal, Brazil, on Wednesday. The Canadians will have a chance for revenge Sunday when they clash again in the tourney final.

National team gets 2nd chance in Sunday's international tournament final

Brazil comes away with the ball and a 2-1 victory over Canada in the final group stage of the Torneio Internacional de Natal, in Natal, Brazil. The two will meet again in Sunday's final. (Vlademir Alexandre/Allsports)

Canada's women's national soccer team was edged by host team Brazil 2-1 in an international tournament in Natal, Brazil, on Wednesday. The Canadians will have a chance for revenge Sunday when they clash again in the tourney final.

After victories against Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago, Canada met Brazil, also undefeated, in the final first round game of the Torneio Internacional de Natal at the Arena das Dunas.

Brazil opened the scoring on a free kick in the 12th minute as Andressa Alves was able to curl a shot past Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.

They increased the lead to 2-0 in the 40th minute when Marta set up Débinha for the goal.

Two minutes later Christine Sinclair assisted on a goal by Josèe Bèlanger to cut the deficit in half.

"The beauty with Josee is she scores as a forward and when we want that attacking threat, she goes in at fullback," said Canada's coach John Herdman. "She gives a little more, going forward with our attacking ability, and I think that's what this team is becoming — more flexible."

The teams played a scoreless second half.

"I am really happy with parts of the performance," Herdman said. "We went into this game, bringing in players we wanted to look at this level, including [Kennedy] Faulknor who just played against some of the best strikers in the world and did well. I really enjoyed watching Nichelle Prince come in off the bench again - she really looked like a threat. Janine Beckie is starting to grow in confidence, and that connection with Sinclair is looking better and better. If we can get more control in the centre midfield we'll be in good shape."

Building a team that will bring Canada through the qualifiers and into contention for a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics next summer requires the coaching staff to evaluate the effectiveness of tactics and pairings, and Herdman did not shy away from pointing out where work had to be done.

"Our team showed real resilience in the second half, but we missed that little bit of quality in the middle to attacking third," he said. "I think our front five gave them some problems and our back four were quite resolute. There was just something in the middle that we were missing. When there was space in behind they seemed to find it and we didn't."

"We knew it was going to be a tough game, physically but also mentally," said Belanger. "It was a good test for us. We had a few chances, obviously we would have liked to win, but we know now what to work on for the final. It was a good start and we will be ready for the next game."

With files from Canada Soccer

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