Canada falls 3-1 to Sweden at Algarve Cup women’s soccer tournament

ALGARVE, Portugal — Canada fell 3-1 to Sweden on Wednesday in its opening match of the 2018 Algarve Cup women’s soccer tournament.

Mimmi Larsson, Fridolina Rolfo and Stina Blackstenus scored for Sweden, which capitalized on Canada’s defensive errors.

Janine Beckie scored for Canada, the Algarve Cup winner in 2017 and runner-up last year.

Larsson scored just before half when she jumped on a loose ball and beat Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.

Canada drew level in the 47th minute. Allysha Chapman sent a ball down the pitch for Nichelle Prince, who beat her mark and shot on net, and Beckie banged in the rebound.

Sweden responded in the 52nd minute, with Rolfo’s shot from the wing to make it 2-1, then Sweden capped the scoring in the 87th minute when Blackstenus scored following an errant pass Canadian pass in front of Labbe.

Canada will next play Russia on Friday and South Korea on Monday.

“Despite the score line, we saw a lot of positives in this match,” said Kenneth Heiner-Moller after his first match as head coach of Canada’s senior women’s soccer team. “There are certainly things we will take away and work on before we face Russia, but overall the players put a lot out there tonight and we are proud of them.

“We’ve asked this team to be the most creative group in this tournament and to continue building on the efforts that saw Canada draw the USA in November — a tactically creative, enjoyable form of soccer — and they did that tonight.”

The match saw the return of veteran Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson, who had been sidelined since anterior cruciate ligament surgery in 2016. Her last match was Canada’s win against host Brazil in the bronze-medal match at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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