Playing at legendary St. James Park in Newcastle on Tuesday will be quite the occasion for the players on Canada’s women’s national team, but it will be a particularly special moment for head coach John Herdman – a native of Newcastle.
Herdman grew up going to St. James Park and cheering on Newcastle United. Now he gets to coach on that very same pitch, on the world’s stage no less.
In my encounters with coach Herdman I’ve found him to be very friendly and easy to talk to.
While in London recently I met another couple from Newcastle. They too were equally friendly and a delight to talk to.
This is supposedly the norm with the “Geordies”, as the people of Newcastle are known. They’re very welcoming and love to have a good chat. Apparently they especially like to chat up anyone with an outside accent, so much so that my good colleague Simon “Hot” Fudge told me that I’ll never return from the shores of Newcastle. We’ll see Fudgy.
Kind people like that are easy to cheer for, so it’s no trouble to root for coach Herdman, and I’m sure his fellow Geordies will be behind him.
Here’s to hoping that the homecoming ends in style.
The situation, Geordie Shore style
Here’s the scenario for the Red and White.
Going into their final match of the group stage against Sweden, Canada are in good shape to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games – which would then leave them one win away from a medal game.
A win or draw on Tuesday would guarantee they advance, but even a loss could see them through as one of the two best third-place teams. They’re currently the best of the three third-place teams and hold a +5 goal differential on North Korea, who play the much-favoured United States.
It’s unlikely now that they’ll finish first in the group, as Japan lead them by a point and play South Africa, but truth be told they’d be better off not finishing first. That would mean a likely quarterfinal match with France, who’ve rapidly become a power in the women’s game.
Second place would mean a likely quarterfinal versus Great Britain. While it’s always a tough match against the home nation, it would certainly be winnable.
Third in the group probably means a date with either the United States or Brazil, which would not be ideal.
So essentially, the best bet for Canada is to beat Sweden and clinch second.
Make sure to cheer them on bright and early Tuesday, 6:30 a.m. PT.
Go Canada Go!