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Team GB head coach Hege Riise says they are “getting better and better” with every game as they now look ahead to facing Australia in Friday’s Olympic quarter-finals, after battling back to draw with Canada and ensuring they finished top of Group E.
GB piled on pressure deep into the second half and struck late through Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir to stay unbeaten in the tournament so far, after conceding their first goal of these Olympics shortly after half time when West Ham forward Adriana Leon had fired Canada in front.
For half an hour, it had looked as though GB were set to lose and finish as Group E runners-up, which would have given them a slightly trickier-looking quarter-final against Brazil and a 300km trip up the east coast of Japan to Rifu for a last-eight tie in the opposite half of the draw.
Instead, they now have the advantage of staying in Kashima, the venue where they faced the Canadians on Tuesday, thanks to Manchester City star Weir’s bouncing, deflected shot from the edge of the area with five minutes remaining.
“That was an important goal. [After we went behind] I still believed strongly in this team, a great team always finds a way to come back and we did,” said Norway great Riise. “Closer to the [end of the game], we started to get some momentum, we kept the ball higher and luckily we were good enough to get that goal. We found a way. A great team does that in a tournament.
“Yes, there will always be things that you want to improve, but overall, we played three games against three good opponents, and we are performing better and better. This is a new team. We haven’t been together that long. We’ve improved for every game, we look strong, we look confident and that will be important going forward.”
An energetic Weir pulled the strings for GB and was unfortunate to hit the woodwork shortly before she eventually levelled and cancelled out unmarked Leon’s 55th-minute opener, which the Canadian had struck first time past Ellie Roebuck after some unusually sloppy GB defending.
GB were already assured of their qualification before kick off, thanks to back-to-back wins over Chile and Japan, and they will now face the third-placed side from Group G, Australia, on Friday (10am BST) after the Matildas drew with world champions the USA earlier on Tuesday. The Aussies, ranked ninth in the world, will be spearheaded by Chelsea's star striker, Sam Kerr.
Knowing her side were through, Riise had made five changes, including giving Manchester City and England centre-back Steph Houghton a rest, as the Norway great attempted to keep her squad fresh for the knockout stages.
“We’ve got great depth in the squad and that’s important as well as the tournament goes on,” said left-back Demi Stokes. “You can play any starting 11 and be confident we will get the job done.”
Now the contest hots up, as the knockout stages begin, and the battle for the medals appears wide open. In the other half of the draw to GB, world champions the USA will have to face European champions Holland in a mouth-watering quarter-final, in a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final, while Canada will meet Brazil.
The winner of GB and Australia’s clash will go on to face either Sweden or hosts Japan in the semi-finals.
Team GB vs Canada - as it happened
Murray a fan of Weir's equaliser
Andy Murray, who reached the men's doubles quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics earlier with partner Joe Salisbury, enjoyed watching Weir sink that strike..
FT - GB 1 - 1 Canada
It's all over at the Kashima Soccer Stadium and it ends in a goal-apiece as both sides advance to the knock-out stages, with GB topping the group with 7pts, Canada behind with 5pts.
A solid second half effort from GB as Weir's long range shot salvages a point for Hege Riise's side. Remember this is only the second time Great Britain have sent a women's football side to the Olympics:
90 mins - GB 1 - 1 Canada
There's only two minutes of injury time. Can GB come up with a winner?
89 mins - GB 1 - 1 Canada
Let's hear from Tom Garry as we enter the final minutes..
"To say that goal has been coming would be a bit of an understatement. It's the least GB deserve for the past 10-15 minutes of pressure, even if the deflection is somewhat fortunate."
87 mins - GB 1 - 1 Canada
As things stand, GB will top Group E while Canada's passage to the quarter-finals is also guaranteed as the second-best team in the pool.
84 mins - GOAL FOR GB!
It's Weir with the all important equaliser for Team GB! Bronze collects the ball in the middle of the park and rolls the ball to the Scot, who strikes from a good 35 yards out. The ball takes an unfortunate deflection off Canada's Michelle Prince's head and wrongfoots Labbe, who thinks the ball is falling wide of the post.
82 mins GB 0 - 1 - Canada
More reaction from our women's football reporter, Tom Garry:
"GB have looked far more dangerous since Kim Little came on, and now Fran Kirby will inject some pace, but have they left it too late? Canada are a tough team to score against and Kadeisha Buchanan has been immense at the back for them so far.
79 mins - GB 0 - 1 - Canada
White tries her luck on the edge of the area and does well to get her low shot away, but it rolls straight into the path of Labbe. That wasn't a totally bad option considering how greasy the pitch still is.
76 mins - GB 0 - 1 - Canada
We are going to see Fran Kirby after all and the Chelsea forward comes in place of Ingle, who hands the armband to Little. She immediately adds some spice and flair to GB's attack and immediately forces a corner.
Minutes after Parris cuts across Laurence late to pick up a booking. There's a sense that GB are getting a little bit frustrated. At the moment Canada are poised to top this group.
73 mins GB 0 - 1 - Canada
Kim Little has looked GB's most industrious player since coming on - she's exploits a pocket of space down the right and forces a corner, which fails to trouble Canada.
Stanway collects the ball and after a miskick hits the ball on the half volley with her second attempt but watches it cruise over the cross bar.
GB come again as Stokes directs a ball into the box towards Ellen White, but there's too much weight on it and Canada regain possession.
68 mins - GB HIT THE CROSS BAR!
GB come agonisingly close to an equaliser as Weir drives down the left and despite finding herself in the tightest of angles, arrows a high shot - which might have been intended as a cross - towards goal. It rattles the crossbar, bounces down and out. That came out of nowhere.
Canada make another change with Grosso on for Quinn. Just 20 minutes to go now..
63 mins - GB 0 - 1 Canada
A double substitution now comes from Riise.
Ellen White - who has scored three goals for GB at this Olympics - comes on for GB in place of Daly. Can she come up with the goods again here? She storms onto the pitch and begins waving her arms about, egging on GB to up the tempo.
Scott is off and is replaced by Scotland's Kim Little as Parris spurns another chance in the area.
Not sure if we're going to see Fran Kirby today.
59 mins - GB 0 - 1 Canada
That's the first goal GB have conceded at the Olympics. More from Tom Garry:
"The marking was a bit slack but the first-time finish from West Ham's Adriana Leon is strong. Ellie Roebuck couldn't get anywhere near it.
It's the first goal GB have conceded in Olympic women's football since facing Canada in 2012's quarter-finals.
54 mins CANADA SCORE!
It was coming - Canada have looked the better side in this half.
Laurence finds herself in acres of space down the left and she's left unchallenged as she sends a low, pin point cross which sails through a sea of bodies in the box towards Leon and the West Ham forward needs just one touch to fire it into the roof of the net.
At the moment, Canada are leading Group E.
52 mins - CHANCE FOR CANADA
It's a poor mistake from GB's keeper Ellie Roebuck who suffers a lapse in concentration as she passes the ball straight to Leon in the box.
Millie Bright comes across quickly to block Leon's shot. That was a huge let off for GB.
47 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
Some reaction from Tom Garry after GB make no changes:
"I'm surprised GB didn't make any changes at half-time at all. They're already through, so this is, in part, a chance to rest players and rotate ahead of a busy knockout schedule with a tight turnaround between games."
45 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
Canada have made their first two substitutions of the game. Janine Beckie is off and on comes Jessie Fleming, a WSL champion with Chelsea.
Jordyn Huitema is also on the pitch for Deanne Rose.
The teams are coming out for the second half
The pitch is still quite wet as Ingle leads GB out onto the pitch.
If you're just tuning in..
A reminder that this game ISN'T on the BBC, but Eurosport (but you're following all the action on the Telegraph blog anyway).
It's been a pretty even first half, but GB look more like the team who will score. They've started this one with much more intensity than they did against Japan last Saturday.
Riise produced a tactical masterclass to change things around at half time against the Olympic hosts - will she bring Fran Kirby on for her first appearance of the Games in the second half?
HALF TIME - GB 0 - 0 Canada
GB certainly don't look like a side that played hardly any warm-up matches before this Olympics - they're 45 mins away from their third clean sheet of the tournament.
Riise's side have enjoyed 58% of the possession so far but their four shots haven't been able to test Labbe between the sticks, with Daly's chance by far the best of the half.
It's all to play for after the break.
43 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
Stokes has been superb in that left back position so far - the Man City defender is pouring forward in every GB attack. Her club teammate, Georgia Stanway, controls a wayward goal kick from Labbe and is showcasing some nice link up play with Jill Scott.
40 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
And it's straight back down the other end as Canada's Leon fires a short straight into Williamson on the edge of the area. The intensity level has certainty notched up in the last five minutes as both teams look to break the deadlock.
38 mins CHANCE FOR GB!
Stokes tip toes her way through a swar of red shirts and manages to dink a ball into the box towards a somewhat stationary Parris, who miskicks the ball, which then rolls into the path of Weir - who seems to be everywhere at the moment. It just doesn't quite sit up for Weir and Canada have got away with that one.
35 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
Will GB rue that chance? Tom Garry thinks so:
"That was a golden chance for Rachel Daly and she'll really have to bury opportunities like that in the knockout stages."
33 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
GB are looking the livelier side right now, as Weir feeds an inch perfect ball out wide to Daly on the right. The Houston Dash forward drives towards goal but her shot is deflected behind for a corner.
Canada head away any ensuing danger before Weir, not one lacking in confidence, tries a shot from long range which takes a tiny deflection before bouncing into the path of Canada's GK Labbe.
27 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
Canada's Janine Beckie, who plies her trade for Man City in the WSL, has a golden chance to break the deadlock.
Williamson fails to deal with a tricky ball which bounces up awkwardly in the box and the Arsenal defender doesn't connect cleanly when she tries to head it away. The ball falls into Beckie's path but the Canadian midfielder can't keep her effort down.
Wales' Sophie Ingle doesn't sing God Save The Queen during the anthems
Tom Garry was watching closely during the singing of the national anthems:
Before the start of this game, the GB XI all sang the national anthem except for one player, a quiet-looking Sophie Ingle of Wales, who was standing on the end of the line.
A proud captain of Wales, it's not entirely clear whether that was a display of Welsh patriotism from the Chelsea midfielder or whether she simply didn't feel like singing today, but given that she typically belts out Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau before Wales games, GB fans will no doubt assume it was indeed the former. This combined British side is a controversial one for many in Wales, who feel the team threatens Wales' football independence with Fifa.
Before the start of these Olympics, Scotland's Caroine Weir said she was undecided on whether or not she would sing God Save the Queen during this tournament, but when it came to GB's opening match v Chile, both Weir and her Scotland team-mate Kim Little were singing along with everyone else.
22 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
GB show their attacking flair as Parris rolls a delicious ball to Stanway, who's shot is deflected out for a corner. That looks a bit more promising for GB. Weir delivers the ball in but there's too much weight on it and Canada easily clear.
Riviere picks up the first yellow card of the game after sliding in on Stanway down the right.
19 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
GB are building some great link-up play and Rachel Daly looks to manoeuvre her way into the box but the Canadians sniff out the attack.
Red shirts press up the pitch and Riviere delivers a long throw into the area, but Stokes meets the ball with a clean header, before Hemp sends the ball upfield.
Both sets of goalkeepers have hardly been troubled yet.
14 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
Demi Stokes picks off the ball just as Canada look to press again and goes on a surging run through midfield - but there's no one ahead of her.
GB string a few triangular passes together and Bronze finds herself in a good position on the edge of the area but she's barged off the ball.
10 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
It's a rainy evening in Kashima and conditions look slippery out there. It will be fascinating how both sides deal with that greasy pitch - looks like the rain is just starting to dissipate.
Canada's Rose sends a low ball into the box, having gotten the better of Williamson, but she's unable to find Leon, who's waiting at the back post.
GB are sitting quite deep at the moment.
5 mins GB 0 - 0 Canada
No real chances for either side yet, as Canada hoof a long ball up to try and find Leon up front. Lucy Bronze does well to clear any danger. GB will want to settle into arhythm quicker than they did against Japan if they want to get their noses in front early doors against a tough Canada side that has a great Olympic pedigree.
And the action has started at Kashima Soccer Stadium.
2 mins - Team GB 0-0 Canada
Nervous moments for Team GB as Ellie Roebuck's poor clearance is picked up by Canada's Schmidt who just is off target with her first-time shot.
Both teams take the knee
Here we go then, the final group match about to get underway after both teams take the knee in the fight against racial injustice.
GB to face the first openly transgender Olympian
Canadian women's soccer player Quinn has spoken of their pride of after becoming the first openly transgender athlete to participate in the Olympics.
The Toronto-born player came out as nonbinary and transgender via Instagram last year and made history when they started on Wednesday night in Canada's 1-1 draw with Japan in Sapporo.
Quinn, who plays professionally for OL Reign in America's National Women's Soccer League, is one of three transgender athletes participating in the Tokyo Games, along with Laurel Hubbard, a transgender woman competing in weightlifting for New Zealand and Chelsea Wolfe, a transgender cyclist, who is a reserve on the U.S. women’s BMX Freestyle team.
GB to come up against Bev Priestman
Team GB will come across a familiar face in Bev Priestman, who was the assistant to former England manager Phil Neville before she took the head coaching role with Canada.
The 35-year-old has high hopes of guiding Canada to a third consecutive Olympic medal at the Tokyo Games and given that her side are on a six-game unbeaten streak - which included away friendly victories over Wales and England in April - they're in fine form to achieve just that.
Here's what she had to say before the game:
"We absolutely want to win this match, get the points, and move on to the next round. Keeping the knockout stage in mind, we have to make sure our players are as rested and as fresh as possible, but we have an incredible depth within our group of players, and I believe this can give us a result against Great Britain.”
Star Sinclair left on the bench for Canada
Canada have rested football's all-time top international goalscorer for this game, with Christine Sinclair not even on their bench.
Both teams clearly sense they have bigger fish to fry in the knockout stages, albeit Canada aren't yet 100% guaranteed to go through yet.
TV coverage for today's game
The game will be shown live on BBC 1 and can be streamed via the BBC iPlayer.
It will also be on Eurosport 5 and the Eurosport player, as well as Discovery+
Kick-off coming up at midday.
Canada team news
The main takeaway is that Canada's GK Stephanie Labbe has made a full recovery. The Rio 2016 bronze medallist starts between the posts.
Canada (4-4-2): Labbe; Riviere, Buchana, Gilles, Lawrence; Schmidt, Quinn, Viens, Rose; Beckie, Leon.
Subs: Zadorsky, Grosso, Prince, Fleming, Sheridan, Carle.
CONFIRMED GB TEAM LINE UP - Fran Kirby on the bench
GB make five changes from their win over Japan, as Steph Houghton, Keira Walsh, Kim Little, Lauren Hemp and match-winner Ellen White all get a rest.
There's still no start for Fran Kirby, who is named on a bench full of firepower for GB.
GB (4-3-3): Roebuck; Bronze, Williamson, Bright, Stokes; Ingle, Scott, Weir; Parris, Stanway, Daly.
Subs: Houghton, Little, White, Kirby, Toone, Wubben-Moy, MacIver.
A win for GB would mean less time on the road
Let's hear some pre-match thoughts from Tom Garry, our women's football reporter:
Winning this group would be a major boost for GB logistically, meaning that they could stay in Kashima for their quarter-final on Friday rather than travelling four hours up the East coast of Japan to Rifu. In a tournament with such little recovery time between matches, aspects like travel matter more than ever.
It would also mean they would face a third-place team - albeit, it could be a tough opponent like the Australians - rather than the runners-up in Group F, which includes Brazil and the Netherlands.
Fran Kirby could be in line for her first appearance of the Games against Canada after the Chelsea star was cleared to play. Hege Riise has not taken any gambles on the PFA Player of the Year, who picked up a knock in training before the tournament.
Canada, back-to-back bronze medallists in 2012 and 2016, could be without goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe again sustaining a rib injury in her side's 1-1 draw with Japan in their opening match.
Team GB happy to keep low profile
By Tom Garry
Lucy Bronze believes Team GB have "gone under the radar" somewhat in this Olympic women's football competition, but the GB squad are quite happy with that.
Two wins from their opening two games have seen GB qualify for the quarter-finals regardless of what happens today against Canada. Yet while some of GB's medal rivals have hit the global headlines with high-scoring affairs, with Holland scoring 13 goals so far, Brazil netting eight and Sweden stunning the world champions the USA with a 3-0 victory, GB's results have been rather more understated.
Hege Riise's side are the only team to have kept two clean sheets, and one of only two [along with Sweden] to have picked up six points from a possible six, after beating Chile 2-0 and Japan 1-0.
"Our coaches have reiterated that the pressure on us is what we put on ourselves," Bronze said. "We’ve come into this tournament fairly under the radar. Normally, playing for England, we’d probably have a bit more noise around us, but I think because the Olympics has so many other things to focus on, and there have been some shock results, we’re just quietly going about our business.
"We’re not getting too over-excited about a good result but equally we’re not being too disappointed if we’re not at our best. The coaches, players and staff have done a really good job of keeping level-headed, and keeping focused on the next game, as those standard cliches, they’re working for us at the minute.
"We’re doing pretty well but there’s so much to focus on and the games are all on the same day, the focus is going here, there and everywhere, whereas we’re just going about our business."
If GB can avoid defeat today in Kashima, they would win Group E and play again at the same venue in Friday's quarter-finals. Chelsea forward Fran Kirby is said to be back in contention for the squad, having resumed training after picking up a knock before the Games began.