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It might not be the dream result with tie-breaking procedures likely looming, but the Canadian Women's National Team showed improvement from its opening draw at Tokyo 2020, capturing its first victory of the tournament with a 2-1 win over Chile on Saturday morning.
Janine Beckie handled the scoring for Canada, converting a brace in the 47th minute.
Here are the main takeaways from the game:
Don't let it linger
It was a pretty forgettable first 110 or so minutes to start the tournament for Janine Beckie. After being the main culprit in Canada's attacking struggles in the first game, Beckie encountered her lowest of lows at the event versus Chile, smashing a 20th-minute penalty off the post. It normally wouldn't have been hers to take, but after Christine Sinclair earned the spot kick after having her Achilles threatened by a hard foul, she ceded the responsibility to her veteran teammate.
Fortunately for Beckie and Canada, she would soon be presented with an opportunity to make right.
As a result of one of many impressive dashes from Nichelle Prince, Chile's star netminder Christiane Endler punched an attempted cross onto the feet of Beckie in the 39th minute. With a strong first touch to create the angle, Beckie coolly deposited the ball into the back of the Chile net to erase any memory of her miss from the spot.
Then early in the second half, Beckie was the beneficiary of one of the best build ups from Canada in the entire match, running on another well-placed ball from Prince (who was brilliant in the game, mind you) and beating Endler one-one-one in space.
Beckie must play well for Canada to have success, so this confidence-growing performance has to be considered a major positive moving forward.
Bev Priestman made two changes to the Canadian lineup, replacing Quinn with Julia Grosso in midfield and swapping wing backs with Jayde Riviere taking the place of Allysha Chapman. It seemed both Grosso and Riviere had a positive influence.
The midfield seemed to function a little more fluidly with Grosso on the pitch, while Riviere seems like an obvious upgrade to the veteran Chapman as one of the more dynamic performers in the entire match. With the 21-year-old Riviere, it didn't seem like Canada sacrificed anything defensively on the corner of that back line. And with how Canada functions, it almost seems imperative that the team's right wing back is highly involved in the attack. For those reasons, we should see Riviere start again.
The decision on Grosso might not be as simple, however. She was substituted later in the match for Quinn, who seemed to provide exactly what they were looking for — and missing last game — in central midfield. With Quinn and Desiree Scott overlapping versus Japan, and seeming to perform a very similar function, Quinn appeared to eliminate the redundancies, better embracing the responsibilities of an attack-minded central mid, and doing well to help connect the attack in her 29 minutes.
It will be interesting to see if Priestman goes back to Grosso or commits to Quinn on Tuesday versus Great Britain.
Shelina Zadorsky hasn't been a glaring problem for Canada through two games, but the two goals conceded through as many outings have been the result of mistakes from the Tottenham centreback.
After letting a Japanese striker run by her for a goal in the opening draw, Zadorsky found herself chasing again in a key moment versus Chile and made the wrong decision to slide with her tackle, resulting in a VAR-assisted penalty.
Perhaps the communication could have been better from her partner in the centre of the defence, Kadeisha Buchanan, but Zadorsky really had no chance to make the play based on her positioning, leading to a history-making moment for Chile:
Canada had other lapses defensively — one which led to a potential equalizing strike ringing off the crossbar.
There is still much to clean up in order to compete with Great Britain and beyond, beginning with Zadorsky.
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