Canada’s opening match of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 didn’t go as planned, but the resilient squad is determined to bounce back for its next match against Nigeria on 16 November.
“I think it was a difficult game against a good opponent,” said Canada Soccer U-23 EXCEL Programme Director and U-20 coach Danny Worthington. “Spain is a team with many clinical finishers and we saw that today, but we’re going to regroup and take learnings from this match, and move on to Nigeria. A lesson like that is a hard one, it’s hard for the players and hard for the coaching staff, but best thing we can do is bounce back, move on, and concentrate on what we do over the next two days to prepare for Nigeria.”
The afternoon match, which saw the mercury rise above 30 Celsius with humidity over 60 per cent, quickly saw Canada playing catch up after Spain scored in the second minute. Canada rallied with a few good chances, including a blistering kick from Deanne Rose that just skimmed over the crossbar, but Spain continued to put on pressure throughout the first half.
Canada appeared renewed at the start of the second half with Rose and Gabrielle Carle connecting to create chances in Spain’s end, but despite increased attacking from Canada including a disallowed goal, Spain was able to covert on crosses and ended the game five goals to nil.
“As a team we are going to keep pushing,” said Canadian forward Deanne Rose after the match. “We’re not holding our heads down, we know there is opportunity going forward, and we are going to keep looking for those opportunities in front of the net and pushing the other teams. No team is out of our reach in terms of winning. If we bring our game, anything can happen.”
Canada’s Captain Bianca St. Georges echoed the sentiments of both Worthington and Rose:
“Obviously it’s pretty disappointing that we lost this match, but I don’t think we shouldn’t be pessimistic about it because it’s a learning opportunity,” said St. Georges. “We’re not going to let this game determine our tournament.”