Christina Julien and Canada win Pan-Am Games Gold
Karina LeBlanc made two saves on kicks from the penalty mark to secure Canada’s first gold medal in women’s football at the Pan American Games. Canada won 4-3 on kicks following a 1:1 draw with Brazil in the 27 October championship final at the Estadio Omnilife in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Cornwall's Christina Julien started and played the entire game for Canada.
This marks Canada’s third medal at the Pan American Games, following silver at Santo Domingo 2003 and bronze at Rio 2007. Canada finished fourth at the inaugural Pan American Games Women’s Football Tournament at Winnipeg 1999.
With Canada winning gold, Brazil took home the silver medal while host Mexico, meanwhile, won bronze following a 1:0 a.e.t. victory over Colombia.
In the championship final, Brazil scored early (Debora in the fourth minute) and Canada scored late (Christine Sinclair in the 87th minute) before the match was sent to extra time. Following 120 minutes, both teams lined up for kicks from the penalty mark.
Canada scored on three-straight kicks before LeBlanc stopped Grazielle on Brazil’s third attempt. Both sides traded goals before Candace Chapman hit the post on the fifth kick. LeBlanc then made her second save - this one on Debora - to give Canada the gold.
Canada finished the XVI Pan American Games with a record of three wins and two draws. Both draws came against Brazil (0:0 in the group phase and 1:1 in the championship final). Six different players scored two goals at this year's tournament, including both Sinclair and Julien. All time, Canada has 12 wins, four draws and five losses in four Pan American Games Women’s Football Tournaments (1999 to 2011).
Canada also maintains its winning record this 2011 season: 13 wins, four draws and six losses. Canada and Brazil have posted draws against each other in their last five encounters dating back to 2008. Christine Sinclair, who scored the dramatic equaliser, has scored three of Canada’s four goals in those five matches.