Though the opening ceremonies don’t officially kickoff the 20120 Games until Friday when the torch is lit, men’s and women’s soccer begins play on Wednesday. Diana Matheson and the Canadian women’s soccer team open Group F play versus Japan at 11:30 a.m. (ET). The game can be seen live at ctvolympics.ca or through NBCOlympics.com.
Matheson, a 2008 Princeton University graduate and the Tigers’ all-time career assists leader, and the Canadians face a stern opening test as they take on reigning 2011 World Cup Champion Japan in Coventry, England. The veteran midfielder, who has played in the last three Women’s World Cups, will look to control the ball in the Canadian midfield and spring forward Christine Sinclair for scoring chances, while also getting forward with the attack.
Playing in one of the toughest groups, the Canadians will try to finish in one of the top two places in Group F in order to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament. Aside from Japan, Sweden and South Africa are also in Group F. In the latest FIFA women’s world rankings, Japan (third), Sweden (fourth) and Canada (seventh) all cracked the top-10.
The last Ivy League athlete to earn a medal in women’s soccer was Kristin Luckenbill (Dartmouth ’01), who won a gold with the United States at the 2004 Athens Games.
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Canada’s other Group games
Saturday, July 28 vs. South Africa at 9:30 a.m. (ET), live on MSNBC
Tuesday, July 31 vs. Sweden at 9:30 a.m. (ET), live on MSNBC