Canada, with plenty on the line after last year’s World Cup failures, got an early goal from Melissa Tancredi, and was able to breathe easy for a while, but South Africa made things difficult for a long time, including late in the first half allowed Banyana Banyana to hit the crossbar. As South Africa tired, Christine Sinclair brought order to the proceedings and eventually Canada had a relatively comfortable 3-0 win. Canada still has questions, but the mission for the day was to put themselves in position to advance, and unless they get blown out by Sweden, they should live to see the quarterfinals. Mission accomplished.
Poor Sweden, always one of the best teams in the world, always in the hunt, but never quite able to take home a major trophy, and therefore overshadowed by something. This year’s version – with two of the best players in the world in Lotta Schelin and Caroline Seger on display – rolled to victory over South Africa in their first game, but all the talk will be about Portia Modise and her 60th minute goal from midfield that will likely be the goal of the tournament when all is said and done. Of course, there’s good reason for all the talk about Modise, she’s a fantastic story that’s worth our time.