Canada vs. France Women's Olympic Soccer: Predictions for Bronze-Medal Match
For a match that is technically part of the loser's bracket, there sure will be a lot on the line when Canada and France battle it out on the pitch.
Most importantly, the bronze medal. The winners will leave with one, while the losers—despite a very successful tournament—will leave with the same luggage they brought with them.
That should make for a painful flight home.
Therefore, while the bronze-medal match is often dismissed, don't think for a second that these ladies are going to give anything less than 100 percent.
With that being said, let's take a look at what to expect when they match up on Thursday for that shiny medal.
Christine Sinclair Continues Her Domination
Predicting anything else would be stupid on my part. Sinclair is just too good.
Yes, she put together an impressive hat trick against Team USA in the semifinals, but the 29-year-old has been finding the back of the net all week. In five matches, she now has six goals, which is more than Abby Wambach, more than Alex Morgan, more than everyone.
The U.S. may have the most popular stars, but Sinclair is doing a fine job of establishing herself as arguably the world's best player.
Throw in the fact that France has an aggressive style that has led to it allowing seven goals in five matches, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Sinclair net at least another two.
When I say "aggressive" style, I mean "I'm-going-to-shoot-as-soon-as-I-pass-midfield" aggressive.
France may have given up seven goals so far, but it has scored 11 times, second only to Team USA. The team has racked up an extensive 92 shots (most in the tournament), with 35 of those on goal. That's over 18 shots per contest.
It's safe to say the French women aren't afraid to have a go.
Meanwhile, Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi will have plenty of chances for Canada. The Canadians have also scored 11 goals in the tournament, but there's no question France will create plenty of opportunities to keep pace.
Don't take your eyes off this match.
Ends in Penalties
Who takes home bronze?
If the 2011 World Cup taught us anything, it's that women's soccer has a flair for the dramatic. Of the eight knockout-round matches, three went to penalty kicks, including the final.
So far in London, however, no match has made it past the first 120 minutes.
I'm no Miss Cleo or anyone like that, but the law of averages is going to play out here at some point.
Put it all together, and you've got a 3-3 match that will go the distance. On the shoulders of Sinclair, Tancredi, Jonelle Filigno and company, look for the Canadians to grab bronze with a dramatic 7-6 win via the dreaded penalties.
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