Notre Dame women’s soccer alum Melissa Tancredi (’04) single-handedly helped Canada rally from an early two-goal deficit and reach the quarterfinals, representing Fighting Irish athletes on Tuesday at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
Tancredi scored two goals, the second in the 84th minute, as Canada forged a 2-2 draw with Sweden in its final Group F match on Tuesday afternoon at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England. With the draw, Canada (1-1-1, four points) advances to the quarterfinals for the second time in as many Olympic appearances, having reached that round at the 2008 Beijing Games before being eliminated by the eventual gold medalist, United States, 2-1 in extra time.
The Canadians found themselves down 2-0 against Sweden after 16 minutes, but fought their way back, starting with a momentum-shifting goal from Tancredi in the 42nd minute, giving her country a huge lift going to the locker room. With Canada needing at least a draw to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals, the Maple Leafs relentlessly pressed for the equalizer, and it finally came with less than seven minutes left. Christine Sinclair served a ball from the left flank and Tancredi rose high over the Swedish defense to drive a header into the back of the net, ensuring the Canadians’ passage to the final eight.
Tancredi now has leads all players with four goals in this year's Olympic women's soccer tournament, one more than Abby Wambach of the United States and Stephanie Houghton of Great Britain. Tancredi also is tied with Sinclair for the most career goals (5) by a Canadian in Olympic action.
Tancredi’s teammate and fellow Notre Dame alum Candace Chapman (’05) did not play in Tuesday’s match while she continues to recover from a calf injury suffered in Canada’s first preliminary-round match (a 2-1 loss to Japan on July 25).
Likewise, Fighting Irish alum Shannon Boxx (’99) missed her second consecutive match for the United States, which defeated North Korea, 1-0, on Tuesday afternoon at legendary Old Trafford in Manchester, England, to win Group G with a perfect 3-0-0 record (nine points). Boxx suffered a hamstring injury in the Americans’ Olympic opener against France (a 4-2 win on July 25), and has not seen action since then.
All four Olympic quarterfinal matches will be played on Friday and will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network and NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, as well as shown on-line through nbcolympics.com and via the NBC Live Extra mobile app. The United States will face New Zealand at 9:30 a.m. (ET) at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England, while Canada will play Great Britain at 2:30 p.m. (ET) at City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry, England.