After suffering tough losses to Japan and Team USA, respectively, France and Canada will battle it out Thursday in the women's soccer bronze-medal game of the 2012 Summer Olympics. While the main focus shifts to the gold-medal game, there is plenty to be excited about in the tilt between France and Canada.
Coming off a torturous loss to the United States in the semifinals, a game which has been described as "an instant classic" as well as a "highlight of these Olympic Games," Team Canada will look to salvage their summer by bringing home the bronze against France.
The Canadian women led Team USA on three occasions, only to see their dynamite effort go up in smoke at the hands of an Alex Morgan goal 30 minutes into extra time. The game was Canada's best showing of the Olympics, led by a hat-trick from team captain Christine Sinclair.
After coming so close, only to fall just short, the tough loss can be seen as a motivating force in its upcoming game.
For France, a rabid offensive in the final 20 minutes was not enough as they fell to Japan, 2-1. Despite Japan's status as favorite, France had solid opportunities to strike, failing to capitalize. Solace can be taken from the fact that their strong effort, particularly in the final 10 minutes, had the World Cup champs on the brink.
With two great teams set to meet, the showdown will be even more enticing following comments made by Canada coach John Herdman. "They'll be disappointed tonight because it won't be gold or silver," he said, "but we'll take a medal from this tournament."
Team captain Sinclair added that she "wouldn't want to be the team that plays us next." From the sound of things, the Canadian camp is locked and ready to go.
Standing in their way however, is a France squad that has already posted an impressive victory over Sweden and had strong showings against the U.S. and Japan. A victory over Canada would not only make a liar out of Herdman, but would bring their summer to a satisfying conclusion.
Now, two teams look for redemption, facing off in an attempt to end their summer campaigns on a high note with Olympic bronze. With Team USA and Japan as strong as they are, no shame comes in finishing third, as two great teams will meet to round out the podium.