MONTREAL, QUE – While Canada’s women’s national team didn’t quite unleash the scoring prowess fans were waiting for on Monday, the squad still did enough to secure the top rank in Group A and move on to the Round of 16 at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Playing their final match of the group stage, the Red and White earned a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands in front of 45,420 cheery spectators at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
“That’s the stuff you dream of as a player, to go play in front of that sort of atmosphere,” said Canada’s head coach John Herdman. “It certainly fired the girls up to go out there and do what they could. If that is the sort of support we’re going to get in the tournament, this team will just keep fighting.”
Canada looked bright early on and truly lifted the crowd when teenager Ashley Lawrence scored her fist senior international goal for her country in the 10th minute, calmly directing a deflected shot in the bottom left corner.
“I’m really proud of those young players,” said Herdman on the role the youngsters played in the match. “To go out in that sort of atmosphere you either sink or swim, and those girls are swimming. Lawrence has been lighting it up in the midfield, she adds a little bit of pace and just that composure to finish that goal … she had a few chances tonight.”
But the Dutch came out of the halftime break looking for their share of the action. Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod held on without too much trouble until a charging Van Den Ven broke out to beat the keeper and score the equalizer in the 87th minute of play.
“The Dutch were pretty good tonight, the front four were as good as we expected,” summed up Herdman. “But our back four were pretty resolute at times, and from an attacking perspective, I think Canada, with the young players out there combining with some of the more senior players, put on a good show for the Montreal crowd.”
With this result, Canada finishes group play with one win and two draws, for a total of five points. It is also enough to sit atop Group A, above China PR and the Netherlands who both finish with four points.
“All in all, top of the group, five points, this was the plan - we’d love to have nine - but job done, we’re happy,” concluded Herdman.
Canada will now head out West to Vancouver, where they will await on an opponent that will come out in third position of group C, D or E. BC Place will play host to Canada’s Round of 16 match on Sunday, June 21 at 4:30 p.m. PT. Tickets for Canada’s next match are available on fifa.com/canada2015.
Fans can follow Canada’s women’s national team via Twitter @CanadaSoccerEN using #canWNT and share their support by tagging messages and pictures with #CanadaRED. More details of the team’s movement and upcoming opponent will also be shared via Canada Soccer’s social media accounts.
Whitecaps FC have fully got behind the FIFA Women’s World Cup, organizing a residential camp centred around the World Cup (including tickets to the final at BC Place, which is already sold out!). As part of the camp, girls will have the opportunity to come and interact/learn from the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite REX coaching staff.
Dates: July 3- 6 REGISTER TODAY!