In its first game after the departure of long-time coach John Herdman, Canada’s women’s soccer team fell 3-1 to Sweden with new coach, Kenneth Heiner-Moller, on the sidelines.
Heiner-Moller, from Denmark, made his debut in Canada’s Algarve Cup opener in Portugal on Wednesday, where his team has found success the last two years.
After beating Brazil to win the tournament in 2016, Canada made it the final in last year’s tournament but was shut out by Spain.
On Wednesday, Canada held steady against reigning Olympic silver medallists Sweden in the first half before crumbling in the second.
Janine Beckie scored to tie the game 1-1 in the 47th minute, but Sweden’s Fridolina Rolfo answered with a goal six minutes later to retake the lead. A third Swedish goal, from Stina Blackstenus in the 87th minute, sealed the win.
Mimmi Larsson opened the scoring for Sweden in the dying minutes of the first half.
“Despite the score line, we saw a lot of positives in this match,” said Heiner-Moller. “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.”
Heiner-Moller has big shoes to fill, as Herdman leaves after winning Olympic bronze in 2012 and 2016.
The 47-year-old had served as an assistant to Herdman since 2015, and assumed the top job after Herdman left in January to coach Canada’s men’s team.
Canada’s next Algarve Cup match is Saturday against Russia.