EDMONTON, ALBERTA – There were tears flowing from downcast Canadian faces as the fulltime whistle sounded in the quarter-final of the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium.
Canada’s women’s U-20 team had been eliminated, in front of a home crowd of 22,421, but it’s clear that there’s more to come from a Canadian program that’s laying the groundwork for consistent success.
Germany is that model of consistency that Canada is trying to emulate as they’ve reached their fourth consecutive semifinal at a U-20 Women’s World Cup but Canada’s shown that they’re knocking on the door as Germany had to work and rely on some good favour to eke out a 2-0 win over Canada.
“I would hope that Germany would realize that Canada does have a bright future. There are some good players coming through,” said Canada head coach Andrew Olivieri. “We had some young players on the pitch today that performed just as well as the good German squad.”
Fortune wasn’t on Canada’s side early as Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite graduate Emma Fletcher had a shot hit the crossbar early in the game on a long distance shot. Not long after, Nichelle Prince had to be taken off with an apparent leg injury.
Ashley Campbell came in for Prince and still Canada managed to create chances and cause difficulty for German defenders with some creative build-up play.
“We’ve all seen how big she’s been for us with the energy that she brings and the goal threat that she brings so it was difficult but it was something that we had to move on with,” Olivieri said of Prince. “It’s unfortunate that three or four minutes into a game one of your players can’t go any more.”
Canada’s aim is to create the pipeline that will pump through talent that will produce consistent top performances in international tournaments and if this tournament is any indication, there are good players coming through the system that will be up to the challenge of taking on the best teams in the world for years to come.