By David Gold at the Basketball Arena on the Olympic Park in London

Canada versus_United_States_8_SeptSeptember 8 - Canada have defeated fierce rivals and defending wheelchair rugby Paralympic champions United States in a dramatic London 2012 semi-final, 50-49.

Victory was secured in literally the last second of the game as Garett Hickling (pictured below) ran down the clock before crossing the line to secure a memorable triumph.

Canada (pictured top, in blue) were in control throughout but the US gradually worked their way into the game and seemed set to continue the defence of their title into extra-time.

The North American rivals had previously met twice in the semi-finals of the Paralympics before, winning one match apiece.

Indeed, so fierce is their rivalry that it has been the subject of a film – Murderball, the original name of wheelchair rugby.

Canada edged the previous last-four clash between the pair at Athens 2004, but the US had won their encounter at Sydney 2000.

Unlike the US, Canada have never won Paralympic gold but on this form that could well change this year.

Canada, the founding country of wheelchair rugby, raced out of the blocks, with Zak Madell and Mike Whitehead particularly impressive as they stormed into a 16-9 lead after the first quarter.

Garett Hickling_8_Sept
The US responded, with Chuck Aoki prolific at the start of the second period, but Canada gave as good as they got and were able to keep the US five points at bay by half-time, with the scores 28-23.

In the third period the US started to make inroads into the Canadians' lead, with Aoki scoring four of the last six points of the quarter to bring the scores back to 39-37 and set up the game for a thrilling conclusion.

With Canada seemingly in control at 45-41 ahead, the US won the next three points in a row and equalised at 48-48 when Joe Delagrave impressively manoeuvred himself into space to convert a crucial point.

Trevor Hirschfield and Aoki then traded goals as the game looked set to go into extra-time.

However, Chad Cohn's foul 30 seconds from the end proved costly as it gave Canada the opportunity to build one last attack – and Hickling waited for the clock to run down before crossing the conversion line to give his side a place in tomorrow's final.

Canada captain David Willsie was delighted afterwards, expressing his satisfaction at "finally beating these guys after so long".

The Canadians now meet Australia after they comfortably beat Japan 59-45 in the other semi-final.

Ryley Batt (pictured below, number 3), regarded as the world's best player, scored almost half of Australia's points, registering 27 on the scoreboard as they cruised to victory.

Ryley Batt_8_Sept
They will start the final as slight favourites having beaten Canada 64-52 during the group stages.

The Aussies had been expecting a rematch with the US, to whom they lost in both the final of Beijing 2008 and the last World Championship.

After victory over Japan in the first of the two semis, Batt predicted that the US would beat Canada and coach Brad Dubberley said: "I would like to play against the US as to be the best you want to beat the best."

"Getting into the final was one of our goals, as was winning each of our quarters that we play," he added.

"We have now won 16 and have four more to go and we are happy with where we are."

Willsie insisted Canada would not be focusing too much on the threat posed by Batt: "Everybody is obsessed with Batt... if you focus on one guy you are toast.

"We believe in ourselves and we have to learn from [the defeat against Australia] and come up with the same intensity as we did here."

When told of the comments from the Australian camp afterwards, Willsie added: "We like that – hopefully they will look past us in the final!"

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