Every Wednesday, we’ll look back on the happenings from the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, highlighting the play of Team Canada and the biggest takeaways from the past seven days.
Next Up: The Knockout Stage vs. Switzerland
It hasn’t been pretty, but Team Canada is through to the Knockout Stage after finishing atop Group A by posting one win and two draws for five points. After edging China 1-0 in its opening game, the Canadian side played to a 0-0 draw with New Zealeand and conceded a late goal against the Netherlands on Monday to finish level at 1-1 and secure their place in the second round.
There are two ways of looking at this team going forward. On one hand, they haven’t found a rhythm and the offensive chances have been sparse, which means we haven’t seen their best and stronger outings could be on the horizon. On the other hand, this just might be whom Team Canada is and they’re going to need to grind out results from here on out, hoping to net one and keep their opponents from scoring.
Their opponents in the Knockout Stage will be Switzerland, who finished third in Group C, but advanced on the strength of three points from a 10-1 win over Ecuador. Just looking at the numbers, they appear to be a team that can put up goals, but they only scored once outside of housing Ecuador and failed to register a clean sheet during the opening round.
Canada and Switzerland will hit the pitch Sunday, June 21 at BC Place in Vancouver.
If you had to pick a favourite to win it all right now, the two-time champs from Germany would have to be near the top of the list.
Goaltender Nadine Angerer posted clean sheets against Ivory Coast and Thailand while allowing a single goal against Norway, helping the Germany side to a first-place finish in Group B thanks to a +14 goal differential, eight greater than second-place Norway managed.
Maybe getting cupcake games in two of their three opening round matches gives the Germans a false sense of security and they’re a little tight once they come up against stiffer competition, but regardless of who they beat, whenever you can put up 14 goals in two games, it means you’ve got offensive firepower to spare and that always serves you well in a tournament like this.
It also helps to have a superstar line Angerer between the posts too.
U.S. Edges Nigeria, Wins Group D
Despite Abby Wambach’s complaints about the turf, the United States captain still managed to net her 184th goal for the National team on Tuesday, giving the U.S. a 1-0 win over Nigeria and first place in “The Group of Death.”
Like Canada, the team from the United States hasn’t quite found its rhythm yet – they put up three goals in their opening game win over Australia, but only netted one more in the remaining two games, which means either an offensive outburst is on the horizon as the Knockout Stage begins or this team really is having a tough time finding its footing on the field turf.