What a roller coaster ride this final was today. The game was exciting right from the get go. Both teams were pushing. Brazil were in a must win situation in order to win, Canada just needed a draw. In the first half, it seems as though Canada had better chances. Both Matheson and Belanger missed golden opportunities letting their shots whistle wide. With Marta's incredible pace, and the teams quick, on the ground passes, Brazil came out firing. Canada's defense was a little rattled early on as Brazil made some dangerous runs, but were unable to convert on them, which seemed to make them very frustrated, especially Marta . Finally with just 2 minutes left in the half, Canada's Tancredi crossed the ball to an open Belanger and headed the ball in the net giving Canada a 1-0 lead.
The second half had the same pace. 55 minutes in, superstar Marta makes a wonderful play. She received the ball and sprints past the Canadian defense who looked like they were standing still, and slid the ball past goal keeper Labbe. The Brazilian ladies gained some confidence as their supporters electrified. The game seemed to pick up even more from then on. There was back and forth action, both teams pushing for that second goal. At the 71 minute mark, Canada's Nault was cautioned with her second yellow after a hand ball in front of a scrambling open Canadian net, sending her off the pitch and leaving Canada down a man. This resulted in a penalty kick for Brazil. Marta, of course took the shot. Goal keeper Stephanie Labbe did not seem intimidated though, she looked ready to step up. Marta took the shot, Labbe guessed the right side but the ball just snuck past her, giving Brazil the upper hand.
Even though there was a lot of time left on the clock, the Canadian side seemed depleted, you can see it on their faces. But as true Canadians, they kept fighting. Just 11 minutes after Brazil's 2nd goal, "Captain Canada" Christine Sinclair received a pass and kicked a hard one timer at the Brazilian goal and curled in the top left corner of the net. I myself was caught off guard and didn't know they scored until I saw Sinclair celebrate. The game intensified even more. Canada was a man down, only needing a draw to claim gold. Brazil with the 12th man, pushed to the final minute with a free kick just ouside the 18 followed by a corner kick. Finally, to the relief of all the Canadian fans and players, the final whistle blew and it was time for Canadians everywhere to celebrate!
Today's win was especially awesome because the #CANwnt hash tag made the trending list on twitter for Canada. Just the icing on top for an amazing 2010 season