Canada has a new Olympic hero in women’s soccer, and her name is Deanne Rose.
Rose scored the opening goal and assisted on another in Sao Paulo on Friday, as Canada defeated Brazil 2-1 in the bronze medal game of the women’s soccer tournament at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Rose, a 17-year-old native of Alliston, Ontario, was making only her 11th start in 19 appearances for Canada. It was her fourth goal for her country, and her first at the Olympics. Captain Christine Sinclair, earning her 250th cap on the day, also scored for Canada on a setup by Rose and fellow teenager Jessie Fleming.
Canada also won bronze four years ago at the London Olympics when Diana Matheson scored a late goal against France.
Coming off a somewhat underwhelming showing at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil, and with the squad featuring a number of youngsters, this Canadian team was believed to be one in transition—that it was building for the future, and that reaching the medal podium in Rio would have been a bridge too far.
But those same youngsters starred for Canada at this tournament, helping the Reds cruise through the group stage with a perfect record, and capped off a strong Olympic tournament by winning the bronze medal.
Canada is No. 10 in the current FIFA world rankings, two spots behind Brazil. The Reds also defeated Australia (No. 5), Germany (No. 2) and France (No. 3) earlier in the tournament en route to reaching the bronze medal game.
In an interesting tactical move, coach John Herdman started forward and team top scorer Janine Beckie on the bench. He also left veterans Sophie Schmidt and Rhian Wilkinson out of his starting line-up. Rose, Matheson and Josee Belanger took their spots in the starting XI.
After a cagey start to the match, Canada carved out the first scoring chance in the 10th minute when Sinclair’s free kick smacked the crossbar. The Reds took control of the match at that point, putting Brazil under a steady of stream of pressure.
Canada’s persistence in attack paid off with a brilliant goal in the 25th minute on a perfectly executed counter attack. Brazil lost possession in its half, and Shelina Zadorsky fed a great outlet pass to Ashley Lawrence who went on a lung-busting run down the right flank. Once inside the penalty area, Lawrence squared the ball across the box for Rose to slot home with a composed, side-footed finish.
It was only the second goal the Brazilians conceded at this tournament, and the first in regulation time since its 5-1 win over Sweden during the group stage.
Brazil came out strong to start the second half, but Canada doubled its advantage in the 53rd minute. Fleming made a great run down the right before playing a through ball for Rose, who burst into the box and squared a pass for Sinclair. The Canadian captain had enough time to take a touch before hammering it past the Brazilian goalkeeper.
It was the 165th goal of Sinclair’s international career, and her 11th all-time at the Olympics.
Rose could have made it 3-0 in the 58th minute—she intercepted a pass and blew past the Brazilian defence, and with only the goalkeeper to beat she struck a shot that hit the crossbar. Moments later she was subbed out of the game.
Beatriz scored for Brazil in the 79th minute off a throw-in after Canada failed to clear it lines. The Canadians withstood a late flourish of Brazilian pressure to hold on for the win.
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