Through to quarterfinals alongside fellow Red Stars LeBlanc, Leon
By Gunnar Berndt
Round of 16: Canada vs. Switzerland 1-0
Red Stars: Karina LeBlanc (GK), Adriana Leon (FWD), Melissa Tancredi (FWD) – all Canada
Veteran Chicago forward and Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Tancredi battled hard up top for 69 minutes to help Canada to a much celebrated 1-0 victory over a strong Swiss side on Sunday that sent the host nation through to quarterfinals of the tournament. Tancredi’s Red Stars teammates, legendary goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and up-and-coming striker Adriana Leon, were on the gameday roster for the Canucks, who advanced courtesy of a Josee Belanger tally early in the second half.
After Swiss forward Ramonda Bachmann had the first look of a fiercely contested match, Belanger came within inches of scoring at the other end, her cross from the right turning into a direct threat on goal as it surprised netminder Gaelle Thalmann and bounced of the left corner of the goalpost. The Canadian attacker would not be denied six minutes after the break, blasting home from about 15 yards on Christine Sinclair’s beautiful layoff following a cross from the right edge of the box by Rhian Wilkinson.
Swiss winger Ana Maria Crnogorcevic should have done better than to send her wide open header over the bar, and her side was nearly punished for the missed chance on a sequence started by Tancredi’s cross from the right that had Thalman sprinting off her line and failing to make contact on the attempted punch. The loose ball was picked back up on the left and swung back in before a scramble again saw the Switzerland goalkeeper struggle to clear, allowing Belanger to shoot at the empty net, only for a well-positioned Caroline Abbe to clear the attempt off the line.
Canucks shot-stopper and former Red Star Erin McLeod made a dramatic save late in the match when she rushed to throw herself at a short-range effort by Vanessa Bernauer, who had done well do turn and fire from the doorstep on Bachmann’s cross in from the left. It would be the final noteworthy chance of the contest, as the Canadians moved on to the next round, where they will be facing the winner of the meeting between England and Norway.