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Canada to open 2020 Tokyo Olympics against Japan

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Canada will open its 2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s soccer tournament against host nation Japan in Sapporo July 21.

Canada will then play Chile July 24 and Great Britain July 27, before hopefully moving on to the knockout stage.

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The draw for the tournament was made Wednesday. The Tokyo Olympics were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now that we know our pathway at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, I’m excited, the players are excited and we are ready to ramp up our preparations further to achieve our goals,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach via a Canada Soccer statement Wednesday. “There is no easy opponent in a Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, but we will do everything in our power to make Canada proud.”

Full Canada Soccer statement:

Canada will face the Olympic hosts and former FIFA Women’s World Cup™ champions Japan in the opening match of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament this summer. With the Official Draw conducted on 21 April, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team have learned they will face Japan, Great Britain and Chile in the group phase in July.

Canada will kick off their Olympic Games journey when they face Japan in the opening match of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Sapporo on 21 July at 19.30 local (06.30 ET / 03.30 PT). Canada will then face Chile on 24 July at 16.30 local (03.30 ET / 00.30 PT), before wrapping up the group phase against Great Britain in Kashima on 27 July at 20.00 local (07.00 ET / 04.00 PT). From 12 nations in three groups, the top-eight nations advance to the Olympic Quarterfinals from which winners then advance to the Semifinals and then a chance to win a medal. The Women’s Olympic Football Tournament runs 21 July through 6 August 2021, with this year’s gold medal match at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.

“Now that we know our pathway at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, I’m excited, the players are excited and we are ready to ramp up our preparations further to achieve our goals,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach. “There is no easy opponent in a Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, but we will do everything in our power to make Canada proud. With hard work, the right mindset and a strong belief in our individual and collective ability, Canada can give any team a really difficult game and ultimately succeed in an Olympic Games.”

This will be the 15th international meeting between Canada and Japan since they first met on 5 May 1995 in Tokyo. The two sides have traded wins in their last two meetings, with Canada the winners in 2018 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal and Japan the winners in 2019 after Canada traveled to meet their hosts in Shizuoka. Both Canada and Japan most recently reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™. In the past decade Japan were champions at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 and silver medal winners at both the London 2012 Olympic Games and FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.

Canada and South American nation Chile have only faced each other once before at the international “A” level. Chile, who are participating in their first Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, were the 2013 winners against Canada with a 1:0 win at the Torneio Internacional in Brazil in 2013.

Canada and Great Britain, meanwhile, faced each other once before at the London 2012 Olympic Games, with Canada eliminating the hosts with a 2:0 victory in the Quarterfinals. Great Britain will feature players from England, Scotland and Wales, with notably England third- and fourth-place finishers at the past two FIFA Women’s World Cups. Earlier this month, Canada won a pair of away international “A” matches against both Wales (3:0 on 9 April) and England (2:0 on 13 April).

Canada are one of just five nations in the world that have qualified for each of the past four Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments. Canada are also the only nation in the world to reach the podium at both London 2012 and Rio 2016 in women’s football.

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