In a beautiful summer afternoon, Canada immediately took control of play and were all over the Brazilian circle. But the South Americans, well organized in defense, calmly thwarted the danger and Hubertus Reinbach saved the first Canadian penalty-corner, a low flick by Scott Tupper. Canada had the quasi totality of ball possession, but were committing unforced errors, or the last pass was imprecise, and the score was still 0-0 after 20 minutes of play.
It was only in the 30th minute that veteran Dave Jameson opened the scoring on a scramble in front of the Brazilian goal to finally give Canada some reward on the scoreboard for their hard work. Half-time was reached with a very narrow lead for Canada (1-0).
Canada continued their domination in second period, but were repeatedly denied by the Brazilian defense, including on a series of penalty-corners. As is often the case, Brazil caught the Canadian defense napping and their captain Ernst Rost Onnes scored in the 43rd minute with a clever touch of the ball in front of Dave Carter, who had replaced Antoni Kindler in the Canadian goal. That triggered an enthusiastic and well deserved celebration Brazilian style.
Their joy was however short lived, Matthew Guest managing to pick-up the ball on a penalty-corner rebound to slot it in goal and give back the lead to Canada. Keegan Pereira increased the gap on a penalty-corner, but the Brazilians had more dangerous incursions in the Canadian camp and could have scored another goal when an attacker arrived one-on-one with goalkeeper Dave Carter, who coolly made the glove save.
The score stayed at 3-1. Canada will be happy to grab the 3 points for the win, but will need to fine tune their efficiency in front of the goal and on penalty-corner for their next games. Brazil showed great progress and some inspired attacking moves, and will be satisfied by their good resistance against a team ranked much higher than them.
Canada plays Chile on Sunday at 5pm EST. Follow along @FieldHockeyCan for the latest updates!