Canada's soccer women finish second in China's Four Nations Cup

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      Canada’s women’s soccer team settled for a 0-0 draw Wednesday (January 16) against Norway in its final game at the 2013 Yongchuan Cup, leaving the national side in second place at the close of competition.

      The Canadians needed a win against the Norwegians—who were mentored by a former national-team coach, Even Pellerud—to sew up first place in the round-robin tournament, also called the Four Nations Cup, held in Chongqing, China.

      Norway finished first, three points up on Canada.

      Playing without star player and veteran Christine Sinclair, who was serving a four-game suspension levied by FIFA after last summer’s Olympic Games soccer semifinal against the U.S. in London, the Canadians managed one win (1-0, in the opener against host China), a loss (3-1, versus South Korea), and yesterday’s tie.

      Canadian coach John Herdman kept Sinclair on his tournament roster even though she couldn’t play, and he fielded a young squad, with seven players getting their first taste of international competition at this level.

      The Canucks obviously felt the loss of scoring star Sinclair—who scored an Olympic-record six goals last summer and a national-team record 23 goals in 2012—managing only two goals in the tourney.

      Adriana Leon scored against China (her first international goal), and Nichelle Prince (her first senior goal for the nationals) replied against South Korea.

      Canada’s next international competition is at the 12-nation Cyprus Women’s Cup, held this year from March 4 to 13. The Canadian side has won this competition three times since its inception in 2008, and it has been the runner-up in the invitational tournament the other two times.

      France, which defeated Canada 2-0 in 2012, is the defending champion of the Cyprus Cup, which is hosted by the football associations of England, Scotland, and the Netherlands.

      This year, Canada is in Group B along with Finland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

      Canada will host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in six cities, including Vancouver, in June and July.