Canada’s women’s national soccer team upset No. 1-ranked USA in the Olympic women’s soccer semifinals with a lone penalty kick goal proving the difference in a 1-0 victory. Canada will advance to the gold-medal match against the winner of the Sweden vs. Australia semifinal, while the USWNT will play for the bronze medal against the loser of that match.
The decisive goal came on a penalty kick scored by Jessie Fleming in the 75th minute after the referee used video review to determine a foul was committed in the box by U.S. defender Tierna Davidson on Canadian forward Deanne Rose. The Canadians used a stingy defense to see out the result, as the USWNT rarely threatened. It was the third time the USA was shut out in this tournament.
It’s the first time in 20 years that Canada has defeated the USA (March 2001). The Americans previously knocked out Canada in dramatic fashion in both the 2008 Olympic quarterfinals and the 2012 Olympic semifinals in matches that went to extra time.
“Not our best game, not our best tournament. We just didn’t have it today. Just too many errors from us, again,” Megan Rapinoe told NBC Sports postgame. “That’s football. They got one shot on goal on the PK [penalty kick] and from what it sounds like, it was a PK. So, yeah, it was a bitter one to swallow. Obviously, we never want to lose to Canada. I don’t think I’ve ever lost to Canada. So it’s a bitter one. But still a lot to compete for. It’s not the color we want, but there’s still a medal on the line and we want to win that game. But this sucks.”
USWNT vs. Canada final score
CAN: Jessie Fleming (penalty kick) – 75th min.
(All times Eastern)
Final: USA 0, Canada 1
Final: Canada finally beat the USA for the first time in 20 years and get past the Americans in a major tournament. They did it with hard-nosed defending (Vanessa Gilles was a standout), fine goalkeeping (Stephanie Labbe) and an opportunistic goal (Jessie Fleming) to pull off a shutout win against an uninspired USA. The Americans lost their starting goalkeeper to injury and could never get in an attacking rhythm in this game or in the entire tournament, for that matter.
FT: USWNT 1-0 Canada
Shots (OT): 17 (6) – 5 (2)
Possession: 56 – 44
Duels won %: 48 – 52
Aerial duels won %: 57 – 43
Total passes: 411 – 345
Passing accuracy %: 77 – 68
Opp half passing accuracy %: 71 – 55
Crosses: 36 (!) – 8
Tackles won %: 62 – 68
Fouls: 8 – 6
— NWSL Analitica (@NwslAnalitica) August 2, 2021
93rd min.: A U.S. corner kick doesn’t amount to anything and Canada is close.
88th min.: SUB – Another Canadian sub to kill time. Deanne Rose, who drew the penalty kick, comes out and Adriana Leon takes her place. There will be four minutes of stoppage time.
89th min.: A Julie Ertz ball into the box goes out for a Canada goal kick and the Canadians look like they can pull this off. There’s no real pressure from the USA.
87th min.: SUB – Christine Sinclair comes off the field and Jordyn Huitema replaces her.
86th min.: Crossbar! Carli Lloyd’s header hits the top of the bar on a cross from the left.
84th min.: Canada get a spell of possession to take the sting out of the U.S. attack. The Americans, who haven’t lost to Canada in 20 years, are running out of time.
81st min.: The USA brings on Sam Mewis in place of a defender, right back Kelley O’Hara. The USA will go with three defenders at the back as it pushes for the equalizer. Crystal Dunn goes from left back to the right side of defense as one of the three.
77th min.: Canada did not have a shot on goal until that penalty and only one shot for the entire match up to that point. This second half was all USA. Everything changed on a single play.
75th min.: Goal! Jessie Fleming steps up to take the kick for Canada and scores! Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch guesses right, but she can’t get to it.
72nd min.: This could be a turning point in the match. The referee checks the video monitor after being alerted by the VAR and she rules a penalty for Canada! U.S. defender Tierna Davidson is punished for kicking Deanne Rose in the box while trying to clear danger. No doubt about it.
71st min.: The shots on goal are racking up for the USA. Now it’s Christen Press putting it on goal, but Labbe holds on to it. Stats say 3 of 11 shots are on goal for the USA. No shots on goal for Canada.
68th min.: Great corner delivery from Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz applies the header which was destined for the corner, but Canada GK Labbe stops it for another corner. The ensuing play also ends with a header, this one by Lindsey Horan and it’s right at the ‘keeper.
65th min.: Great idea from Carli Lloyd who curls a shot on goal that the Canadian ‘keeper has to tip over the bar for a corner kick. But the USWNT can’t capitalize. The pressure is only increasing after the subs.
61st min.: SUBS – The USA changes out the front line – Heath, Morgan and Williams are out and Rapinoe, Christen Press and Carli Lloyd are in
60th min.: SUBS – Canada goes first. Julia Grosso in for Quinn in midfield and Deanne Rose for Nichelle Prince at forward.
58th min.: It’s been all USA to start this half, especially down the left side with Crystal Dunn joining the attacks. But the American women can’t translate the pressure into dangerous chances. A triple substitution is coming to liven things up for the USA.
52nd min.: Chance for USA! Heel flick by Tobin Heath to Lynn Williams, but her shot is over the bar. Best attack by the USA thus far.
49th min.: Chaos in the Canada box, but the ball is eventually cleared.
46th min.: We’re underway, and the USA has come out aggressively to start the half.
Halftime: USA 0, Canada 0
Halftime: We knew this would be a defensive struggle, but no shots on goal in the game so far is a surprise. There were literally no highlights. Canada was defending deep to start, but it grew into the game and had a few corner kicks it couldn’t take advantage of. But there’s a sense the Canadians can spring into an attack at any moment. The USWNT, which lost goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to injury, has been sloppy at times and hasn’t had great ideas around the box. Lynn Williams has rarely been involved. Canada looks like it can potentially punish the USA on a turnover.
USWNT 0-0 Canada
Shots (OT): 7(0) – 3(0)
Possession: 49 – 51
Duels won %: 47 – 53
Aerial duels won %: 50 – 50
Total passes: 194 – 209
Passing accuracy: 78 – 75
Passing accuracy opp half: 62 – 62
Tackles won %: 45 – 65
Fouls: 2 – 3
— NWSL Analitica (@NwslAnalitica) August 2, 2021
51st+ min.: Strong end to the half by the USWNT, but it’s going to have to improve significantly in the second half to advance.
46th+ min.: The USWNT keeps trying to work the ball in the attacking half and this play ends with a cross that is once again headed off target by Alex Morgan.
40th min.: A Kelley O’Hara cross is headed off target by Alex Morgan in the box, but her jersey was being pulled on the play.
37th min.: Davidson has to concede another corner to Canada, its fifth of the half, but that was wasted by Canada’s Beckie, who’s not had good deliveries into the box.
32nd min.: Tierna Davidson whiffs on a ball into the box and it turns into a corner. Meanwhile, Kelley O’Hara is booked for a foul on Nichelle Prince.
29th min.: SUB – Naeher goes down again after taking a goal kick and that knee has her in pain. She signals she can’t continue, so AD Franch comes in.
26th min.: After a long wait, Naeher is staying in the game even if it looked like the backup ‘keeper Franch was ready to come in at one point. Play has resumed, but we’ll get a good deal of stoppage time.
20th min.: U.S. ‘keeper Naeher comes off her line to grab a Jessie Fleming cross and she hurt herself as she came down. Sauerbrunn clears the dangers, but Naeher stays down and it doesn’t look good for that right leg. Backup ‘keeper Adrianna Franch is warming up.
18th min.: As soon as the Canadians win the ball, they go straight at goal and look for the speedy Nichelle Prince. They earn another corner from the right. And, again, a Janine Beckie corner is eventually cleared.
16th min.: Good stretch here for Canada. A cross by Canada’s Beckie is cleared by Tierna Davidson for a Canada corner, which was headed away.
14th min.: USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher touches the ball after a Nichelle Prince touch. Moments later Prince goes down in the box, but it’s a clean tackle by U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
12th min.: Canada’s Janine Beckie gives the ball away in midfield. If Canada is going to have a chance, it will need to do a better job of taking care of the ball.
10th min.: The USWNT continues to be on the front foot. The latest offensive action ends with an Alex Morgan cross that’s easily stopped by Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.
4th min.: Ashley Lawrence rams into the back of Lindsey Horan and the American midfielder is shaken up. She recovers, but nothing comes of the set piece.
1st min.: We’re off. Canada kicks us off.
3:45 a.m.: Ashley Lawrence is arguably the most influential player on the Canada roster. Milestone moment for her:
3:40 a.m.: Hype video to get the adrenaline going in the wee hours:
3:24 a.m.: Ah yes, that 2012 semifinal that no fan who watched it will ever forget. It finished 4-3 final in extra time:
6 current USWNT players were in *that* Olympic semi-final against Canada in 2012:
4 Current CanWNT:
A lot has happened in 9 years, but none of those 10 players will forget that game.
— Vaxwell Smart (@Gen_Yenter) July 30, 2021
3:21 a.m.: Another early start, but this one promises to be worth it:
USWNT vs. Canada starting lineups
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski gives Lynn Williams another start at winger after she registered a goal and assist against the Netherlands. But the most surprising move might be that regular center back Abby Dahlkemper , who had a handful of poor defensive moments in the group stage, isn’t even in the matchday squad.
For Canada, head coach Bev Priestman is sticking with the squad that got it done against Brazil in a quarterfinal penalty-kick shootout. Vanessa Gilles , who had a sensational match against the Brazilians, retains her center back spot ahead of Shelina Zadorsky , and Allysha Chapman returns at left back despite logging heavy minutes into extra time three days ago.
Starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher — 2-Crystal Dunn, 12-Tierna Davidson, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 9-Lindsey Horan, 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle — 21-Lynn Williams, 13-Alex Morgan, 7-Tobin Heath
Substitutes: 18-Adrianna Franch-GK, 14-Emily Sonnett, 20-Casey Krueger, 3-Samantha Mewis, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 11-Christen Press, 10-Carli Lloyd
Sitting out: 22-Jane Campbell-GK, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 6-Kristie Mewis, 19-Catarina Macario
Starters (4-4-2, left to right): 1-Stephanie Labbe-GK — 2-Allysha Chapman, 14 Vanessa Gilles, 3-Kadeisha Buchanan, 10-Ashley Lawrence — 5-Quinn, 11-Desiree Scott, 12-Christine Sinclair, 17-Jessie Fleming — 16-Janine Beckie, 15-Nichelle Prince
Substitutes: 18-Kailen Sheridan-GK, 4-Shelina Zadorsky, 21-Gabrielle Carle, 7-Julia Grosso, 9-Adriana Leon, 6-Deanne Rose, 19-Jordyn Huitema
Sitting out: 22-Erin McLeod-GK, 8-Jayde Riviere, 20-Sophie Schmidt, 13-Evelyne Viens
How to watch USA vs. Canada Olympic semifinal
- Date: Monday, August 2
- Time: 4 a.m. ET
- TV channels: USA Network
- Spanish-language TV: Telemundo
- Streaming: fuboTV , NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and Telemundo Deportes app (with user authentication)
- Canada streaming: CBC.ca
USA vs. Canada will air live on USA Network and Telemundo at 4 a.m. ET. Both networks are available to be streamed in the USA on fuboTV (free 7-day trial) .
All Olympic soccer matches are also streamed in the U.S. on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app — all with user authentication.
The match will be streamed in Canada on live broadcast on CBC.ca.