According to coach John Herdman the goal of playing against China and France in short order is to recreate Olympic tournament conditions – specifically to face tough competition in No. 12 China whom they defeated, then three days later to play and win against No. 3 France on a short turnaround.
Despite a dominating performance for much of Saturday’s match against Auxerre, France, Canada fell to the home team by 1-0 in front of 17, 589 rowdy French fans in their final tune-up for the Rio Olympics. “In all areas of the game we looked good, but we just could not put the goals away. Canada needs to be more clinical around the attacking third,” said Head Coach John Herdman after the match. It was way better than I have seen (Canada play) against this level of opposition. They have come on by leaps and bounds.For sure the team will be disappointed because there was one thing in our minds tonight – to win.”
France’s Camille Abily scored from a well placed free kick at 36 mins. just inside the corner of the net. Canada kept pressing the offense, creating chance after chance, but could not beg a goal. “I believe we deserved the win, and I very rarely get to say that against France,” said Herdman. “We out-shot them, out-crossed them, and at times out-played them. But it doesn’t matter if the ball doesn’t go in the back of the net.”
Herdman praised the full squad, noting a solid team performance, citing Buchanan and Zadorsky at centre-back, Lawrence and Wilkinson at full-back and Scott in the midfield for their performances, while Fleming was outstanding.
While picking out the positives, Herdman underlined Canada’s need to achieve results. We’ll take heart this close to the Olympics, but we need to dominate and get the results, and go into the Olympics with the clear mindset that we can beat these teams. Canada appeared to tie the match in the 57th minute and the goal was recorded on the scoreboard, but after a few minutes of discussion on the pitch it was called back and deemed offside.“All around it was a top performance,” Herdman concluded.