First – this is the Olympics, not league play. In league play, I would agree whole-heartedly, since the leaders are not determined by goal differential. However, because the Olympics has this barbaric system of goal differential to determine placement, it is only strategic to ensure you are in the driver's seat heading into the playoffs.
Second – this is the Olympics. This is not peewee house league. The teams entered in the tournament should know what they are up against. Do you really think that the Russians or italians would have let up if they had been in the lead against our women? Not likely, it is a tournament, and tournamenet rules win out.
Third – this is the Olympics. If the Canadian women had been seen to be obviously easing up, it would be an embarrasment to the other team. I once played a ball game in a tournament in a game where we were up by about 14 runs in the third inning, when some of my team members decided to start hitting their wrong way. It was disgraceful. My teammates were going up to bat, making fools of themselves by swinging at everything, laughing at the results, and very obviously making fools of our opponents as well. I think our opponents would have preferred to lose badly to a team that was trying than to a team that was goofing around at their expense. That was the last year I played with that team.
Finally – this is the Olympics.(have I mentioned this already???). These girls train hard to do their best, not to hold up and be unprepared when they face tougher opponents. If they had only beaten these teams by one or two goals, the armchair quarterbacks would be complaining they could hardly beat the weak teams.
Be supportive. The other teams are professionals. They know when they are outgunned and out-played. The Italian women were only there because they are the host team. They asked the Canadian players for autographs after the game. That's how it works.