Belanger scores, Canada goes on
VANCOUVER, Canada — Josee Belanger’s goal in the 52nd minute gave Canada a 1- 0 victory over Switzerland in a knockout- round game Sunday at the Women’s World Cup.
Belanger, back at her preferred forward position after a three- game stint on defense, controlled a pass from Christine Sinclair and struck it left- footed into the lower corner of the net past diving goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann.
The 53,855 at BC Place erupted when Belanger scored.
Canada advanced to face sixth- ranked England or No. 11 Norway in the quarterfinals Saturday.
The Canadians beat a European team in the World Cup for the f irst time in 11 tries.
Belanger had a chance at another goal when Thalmann got pulled out of the box in the 68th minute, but Caroline Abbe stepped in and cleared the shot.
In the 78th minute, Canadian goalie Erin McLeod blocked a shot by Vanessa Bernauer in front of the goal. She had another leaping save in the waning moments of injury time.
Swiss star Lara Dickenmann couldn’t get a foot on the ball from close range in the 14th minute on a cross from Ramona Bachmann in Switzerland’s best opportunity.
Belanger hit the post in the 16th minute, moments before Melissa Tancredi col- lided midair with Thalmann, who fell hard to the turf.
For one half, the Swiss hung tough playing at BC Place for the third time in four World Cup games. They beat Ecuador, 10- 1, on June 12 in Group C play and lost to Japan, 1- 0, on June 8 in their World Cup opener.
Canada advanced past the group stage for only the second time.
In 2003, the Canadians reached the semifinals and led Sweden before giving up two goals over the f inal 12 minutes to lose, 2- 1, and wound up in fourth place.
That’s the country’s best finish, and Sinclair was part of that run.
NOELLE MARITZ ( 5) of Switzerland is tackled by Christine Sinclair of Canada in the f irst half.