28th June 2015
The dream of a podium finish may be over for Canada’s Women’s National Team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ but the team has left an indelible mark on sports fans in this country.
For two-straight games in Vancouver, crowds numbering in the range of 54,000 have come out not only to cheer, but also, to make themselves a part of tight-knit group of women that has helped to grow the women’s game in Canada and truly put it on the sporting map.“This is a real women’s football country,” said Head Coach John Herdman. “Those fans showed everyone around the world how to support the women’s game.”
England won on the night with two first half goals from Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze pacing them to a 2:1 victory over Canada at BC Place in Vancouver. But this Canadian team, as they’ve done for the last number of years, has engaged a new generation of players.
The number of people walking around Vancouver these past few days with Canada gear with names like Sinclair and Schmidt on their backs has simply been astonishing.
The true impact of this team and this tournament may not be felt right away. But of the thousands of youngsters that has been so charmed by this group of players, there are undoubtedly so many who now dream of working hard, living a healthy life as they chase that desire to pull up their socks, lace up their boots and put on that Canada Red shirt.
“Stick with us, that’s all I’m going to say. Stick with us. We’ll be back fighting,” said Herdman. “We’ll be back strong. We’ll learn from this and those youngsters have done you proud.”
Two costly mistakes in the 11th and 14th minutes spelled the end of Canada’s World Cup hopes Saturday as two English goals came through defensive errors. England then outlasted the host nation, 2-1.
Mistakes weren’t only limited to Canada’s defence. the forwards failed to convert a number of chances. In the 8th minute, Sinclair made a fantastic run down the right sideline, then turned into the middle of the field before sending a long pass to Tancredi on the far side. Tancredi corralled the pass, turned back into the middle and sent a point-blank shot over the crossbar.
She then had another chance in the 18th minute to cut Canada’s deficit to one, but her header off a Sophie Schmidt free kick from the sideline sailed over the crossbar.
The missed opportunities negated another strong start to a game that saw Canada take the play to a team it beat 1-0 in a pre-tournament friendly in Hamilton on May 29. Though Canada entered the match with five players on cautions, Herdman’s side were not cautious and played with spirited pace and confidence.
Sinclair replied before the end of the first half, but despite pressure in the second half eighth-ranked Canada couldn’t get the equalizer, missing out on an opportunity to play in the semifinals on Canada Day, ending its tournament before a record Canadian soccer crowd of 54,027 at B.C. Place in Vancouver. The goal was the 155th goal of her career bringing her just three shy of USA striker Mia Hamm for second on the all-time scoring list.
A full half of play, momentum and England’s 52nd minute substitution of their backup goalkeeper from a swollen eye, appeared to give Canada a window of opportunity. But Mark Sampson’s team withstood Canada’s pressure and did not allow Canada to generate strong scoring opportunities.
Looking to ignite the offense, Herdman brought speedy striker Adriana Leon into the game in the second half and she created Canada’s best chance in the 83rd minute when she sent a centring ball that Schmidt one-timed with her left foot over the goal.Diana Matheson was substituted for Rhian Wilkinson at the half as the defender seemed to reinjure herself.
England, which reached the quarterfinals by rallying to beat Norway in the Round of 16, will advance to face defending champion Japan on Canada Day in one semifinal. The winner will face either world no. 1 Germany or USA in the championship final back in Vancouver next Sunday.
Canada will next focus on preparing to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil