Canada vs. France: Key Battles to Watch in Women's Olympic Bronze Medal Match
Canada and France will be facing off for the women's football bronze medal.
They both lost in heartbreaking fashion in the semifinals, and they must rebound if they want to medal. The losing team will go home with nothing, and neither country deserves that.
It will be a great game, and these are the matchups that you need to pay attention to during the match.
Christine Sinclair vs. Wendie Renard
Christine Sinclair had a hat trick in the semifinal against the United States, including two second-half headers.
With that said, none of the American defenders are as skilled in the air as Wendie Renard. She's played the entire tournament, and she hasn't been too shabby. She needs to play well, or Sinclair will go off again.
The winner of this battle could determine how open this game is played.
Who Can Avoid Mistakes?
Both of these teams are coming off tough losses, but they could've won each match.
Canada took the lead on three occasions, but they couldn't hold it. As well as they attacked, their defense was not as poised as it needed to be. Then, with less than a minute left in the game, they were unable to win a header in the box, resulting in the Alex Morgan game-winner.
France, on the other hand, was trying to come back but fell short. Late in the second half, though, they had a penalty shot, which they were unable to convert.
The team that minimizes its mistakes will be in the best shape to win the bronze.
Camille Abily vs. Diana Matheson
Both of these teams have strong attacks and decent defenses.
However, the game will be won in the midfield.
Camille Abily is the star for France, and Diana Matheson has always been there for Canada. Obviously they aren't the only midfielders that matter, but they're each capable of taking the game over.
If one of these women get enough time and space, they will carve apart their opponent.
Past vs. Present
Once again, history is against Canada.
While these two countries have an even record against each other (3-3-2), France destroyed the Canucks in last year's World Cup by the score of 4-0. Moreover, every single bronze medal winner has been from Europe. Granted, Germany has won the bronze medal for three straight Olympics so that statistic might be slightly skewed.
Either way, Canada is trying to build a soccer power and write a new history. They need to play well in order to overcome history.
Who Is Mentally Tougher?
Canada and France are relatively equal.
They match up well with each other, and they've traded punches over the years. Both teams are skilled, and they will each be driven to win a medal.
And the winner will need to be mentally tougher than the other. A heartbreaking loss can linger, but these teams can't let that happen. They need to win, or they will go home with nothing.
The pressure is on, and the team that responds better will come away with a medal.