Beijing Bound: Canada qualifies for the Olympics

Believe it: Canada is Beijing bound after a 1:0 victory over México in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ciudad Juarez. The Canucks won the 9 April semi-final to qualify for the Summer Olympics.



The Canadian entry will be Canada’s first in 24 years and the first for the Canadian women’s program. Long considered one of the best-two teams in the confederation, Canada will join the United States as one of two CONCACAF nations at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing, China.

Believe it: Canada is Beijing bound after a 1:0 victory over México in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ciudad Juarez. The Canucks won the 9 April semi-final to qualify for the Summer Olympics.



The Canadian entry will be Canada’s first in 24 years and the first for the Canadian women’s program. Long considered one of the best-two teams in the confederation, Canada will join the United States as one of two CONCACAF nations at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing, China.



The CONCACAF victory is a major victory for the women’s program, currently ranked ninth in the world. The Olympic berth was secured in fine fashion at the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez in front of a partisan Méxican crowd. The Canadian side was undeterred by the opposing chants.



Forward Melissa Tancredi of Ancaster, ON scored the winning goal in the 1:0 victory over México. Tancredi took advantage of a Méxican slip to steal the ball and break in alone on the goalkeeper. As cold as ice, Tancredi placed the ball in the back of the net for the lone goal of the match. It was Tancredi’s third winning goal in her third-straight match.



Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod, meanwhile, posted her third-straight clean sheet. Canada is the only team in the tournament not to have conceded a goal.



“The whole back four was excellent while Erin was very, very focused in net,” says coach Even Pellerud. “She played easily her best game in this tournament today. That was a good day to peak.”



The 2008 trip will be Canada’s fourth to the Olympic Games. The three previous trips, though, were all on the men’s side. Canada participated at Los Angeles 1984, as hosts at Montréal 1976, and as champions at St. Louis 1904.



The Women’s Olympic Football Tournament was only introduced at Atlanta 1996. The United States was the lone CONCACAF representative in 1996 and 2000. The United States was then joined by México at Athens 2004. This time, it will be the United States and Canada heading to Beijing 2008.



The Women’s Olympic Football Tournament is also Canada’s fifth qualification for a FIFA senior tournament. The Canucks, whose title sponsor is Winners, are four-time participants at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, dating back to Sweden 1995. At USA 2003, Canada finished fourth in the world.

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