Canadian women’s soccer team battles for bronze – Winnipeg Free Press

Seven players from Manitoba are representing Canada at the 2022 FIFA Women’s World Championships in Vantaa, Finland.

When they return from the eight-team event, they won’t have the medal they were hoping for, and potentially no medal at all.

The second-ranked Canadians were the victims of a huge upset Wednesday night in the semi-final of the tournament. 6-seeded Great Britain scored a touchdown with two seconds on the clock to steal a 20-13 victory for the reds and whites to face the United States for the gold. Canada, which won silver at the first three world championships (2010, 2013 and 2017), must settle for a date with Finland in Sunday’s third-place match.

Jari Turunen / Finnish American Football Association

Hanna McEwen carries the ball during Wednesday’s semi-final against Great Britain at the Women’s World Championships in Finland.

“It’s really upsetting,” Hanna McEwen, a running back from Winnipeg, told the Free press during a telephone interview after the match.

“We have a lot of girls, a lot of veterans who have played in the team before and they got silver last time, so they were hoping to get gold this time. And for some of them, it’s their last year. For rookies, we were all fired up and feeling good in training camp, so we’re all feeling depressed and pretty upset about that.

In addition to McEwen, 24, the other Winnipeggers on the roster are running back Hallie Eggie, defensive line Nura Muhindo, Brooklyn Dyce and Breanne Ward, and offensive line Andrea Backlund. Julie Sprague of Grosse Isle is also on the offensive line.

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McEwen immediately had an impact on the game when he opened the scoring in the first quarter with a touchdown on the goal line after Great Britain broke a ball over their kicker’s head. It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Brits as they fumbled on the opener of their next practice, but luckily for them Canada’s offense couldn’t do anything.

Canadian quarterback Maude Lacasse threw in a costly six-pick in the second quarter to breathe some life into the opposition. Great Britain would also add a rushing touchdown from quarterback Sydney Green late in the second quarter to take a 13-7 lead in the half.

“I don’t think it was one play. We just couldn’t get a rhythm,” said McEwen, who finished with 13 yards on seven carries. McEwen also plays for the Texas Elite Spartans in the Women’s National Football Conference.

Canada fought back with a rushing score from Saskatoon’s Sarah Wright in the third quarter to tie the game 13-13, but the offense ran out of juice afterwards. Team Canada knocked out Green in the fourth quarter only to return an interception three plays later. It looked like things were headed for extra time as Canada stuffed Great Britain on a crucial third down, but there was a flag on the pitch: Laval linebacker Emilie P. Bélanger was called for a roughout unnecessary to extend the journey. On the final play of the game, Wright threw a perfect corner pass to receiver Siobhan Walker for the win.

“It was a tough game and all the time and the referees let a lot of things go by,” Dyce said.

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“Then suddenly on the last ride we got a tough call and it put our backs to the wall. We gave him everything we had. Sometimes on those 50-50 balls in the end zone, a team comes in and it wasn’t us today.

It was not the first break for Britain this week. They earned a bye to the semi-final as their first-round opponent, No. 3-ranked Mexico, had travel issues. Canada beat Australia 33-6 on Saturday.

“They were definitely coming out fresh, it was their first game. I think we were bigger physically, but we have injuries and different things that kept people from playing this game,” said Dyce, a 31-year-old who plays for the Manitoba Fearless.

“It was quite difficult, but it’s the luck of the draw. It’s sports.

Although they didn’t get the result they were hoping for, McEwen and Dyce are soaking up the experience of representing the national team for the first time. Behind Saskatchewan (17) and Quebec (11), Manitoba has the most team members.

“The programs have just started to expand to be a little more competitive in Manitoba,” Dyce said. “So it’s pretty amazing for us to have as many girls as we do in this team.”

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Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Journalist

Eighteen-year-old and still in high school, Taylor made his Free Press debut on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of…

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