Schmidt, Team Canada battle back to tie Sweden, off to Olympic quarter-finals

Sophie Schmidt and the Canadian women's soccer team advanced to the knockout stage of the Olympic tournament.

Sophie Schmidt and the Canadian women’s soccer team advanced to the knockout stage of the Olympic tournament on the strength of a thrilling 2-2 draw with Sweden on Tuesday.

At St. James Park in Newcastle, the Swedes – No. 4 in the FIFA world rankings – surged ahead on early goals from Marie Hammarstrom and Sofia Jakobsson.

But seventh-ranked Canada battled back to tie, with Melissa Tancredi playing the hero. The veteran striker scored in the 44th minute to draw Canada back to within a goal at halftime, then got the equalizer in the 84th minute, heading home a cross from Christine Sinclair.

Schmidt, a 24-year-old midfielder from Abbotsford, started and played 88 minutes before being substituted for Kelly Parker.

Canada (1-1-1) finishes third in Group F, having lost to Japan in their opener before beating South Africa. Sweden (1-0-2) edges Japan (1-0-2) for first based on goal differential.

The top two teams in each of the three groups move on to the quarter-finals, as do the top two third-place teams, and Canada advances under that provision.

The top two teams in each of the three groups move on to the quarter-finals, as do the top two third-place teams, and Canada advances under that provision.

Team Canada will face host Great Britain – and an electric home crowd at Coventry – in the quarters on Friday (11:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, OLN). The Brits went a perfect 3-0 to win Group E.