Canada’s World Cup campaign ended in the round-of-16 Monday with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sweden that saw the Canadians miss a chance to tie the game from the penalty spot.
Fifth-ranked Canada, which came to the tournament with hopes of going far deeper, could not break down the ninth-ranked Swedes as its offence lacked clinical finishing again.
The tournament lasted just four games for the Canadian women, with two losses to lower-ranked sides.
The game started as advertised with two disciplined teams cancelling each other out before 38,078 people at Parc des Princes.
But Stina Blackstenius broke the deadlock in the 55th minute on a Swedish counterattack from a Janine Beckie giveaway. Kosovare Asllanni drove up the field and sent in a cross that defender Shelina Zadorsky couldn’t get to. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe came out but the Swede got a foot to the ball first for the all-important goal.
After the Swedish goal, Adriana Leon replaced Nichelle Prince in a bid for more offence. A Sophie Schmidt header went wide but the play went to video review for a Swedish handball from an earlier Desiree Scott shot. Australian referee Kate Jacewicz correctly pointed to the penalty spot.
Beckie stepped up, only to have Hedvig Lindahl make a marvellous diving save. While Beckie’s shot was well-aimed, many wondered why captain Christine Sinclair did not take the spot kick.
The Swedes offered more offence after their goal and thought they had a penalty in the 81st minute after Ashley Lawrence took down Blackstenius. But the penalty call was reversed on video review thanks to an offside call.
Scott cleared a Swedish shot off the line in the dying minutes.
Eight-plus minutes of stoppage time went without a goal, giving Sweden the win.
Sinclair was on her knees with her face down after the final whistle.
After the game, Beckie said Sinclair asked her if she wanted to take the penalty.
It was a matchup of the Rio Olympic silver (Sweden) and bronze medallists (Canada) with the gold medallist Germans awaiting the winner on Saturday in Rennes. Second-ranked Germany blanked No. 38 Nigeria 3-0 in Saturday in the first game of the knockout phase.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press