Tomorrow afternoon, host nation Brazil will face off against Canada in the Olympic women’s soccer tournament bronze medal match. The match will feature two Orlando Pride defenders-- Monica Hickmann Alves for Brazil and Josée Bélanger for Canada.
Both Alves and Bélanger have had good Olympic performances. Bélanger has had two starts for the Canadian team, including one start at forward, where she used to play before she transitioned into a defender. Alves has started for Brazil in every game they played and scored the team’s first goal of the tournament.
Which woman will walk away with the bronze? It’s difficult to say. Both teams were undefeated up until their last match. Canada won every game they played, while Brazil had a few more close calls. Brazil also has the strength of the home crowd to carry them. In their history, Brazil has won seven times, Canada has won six times, and the teams have drawn six times.
Both teams are led by strong veteran players. Marta, for Brazil, is a five time Ballon D’Or winner and has been a star for this team for the past decade. Christine Sinclair, for Canada, has scored more goals than anyone else in the history of Canadian women’s soccer and is second only to Abby Wambach in number of goals scored in international matches.
Both teams want the win. Brazil wants to bring home a medal for their nation as they are hosting these Olympics. Canada wants to finish of the tournament strong and repeat the bronze medal victory that they earned in 2012. Both teams are saying goodbye to some of their star players. While it hasn’t been confirmed, possibilities include Marta for Brazil and Christine Sinclair, Melissa Tancredi, Rhian Wilkinson, and Diana Matheson for Canada. Undoubtedly, these teams will want to send their stars off in the best way possible, and will fight to the bitter end to take home that medal.
But which team will come out victorious? It all starts tomorrow at 12:00pm in Sao Paulo on NBCSN or the NBC Sports App.