Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team earned three important points in the opening match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ against Group E opponent Cameroon. Kadeisha Buchanan’s goal in first half added time off a Janine Beckie corner gave Canada the halftime lead in the 45’. Canada travel to Grenoble to take on New Zealand on 15 June before finishing the group phase against Netherlands in Reims on 20 June.
Buchanan found herself forward for the corner kick after a free kick and spell of attacking pressure and created space at the back post. Beckie’s lofted corner was met by Buchanan to beat Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom for the eventual winner.
Canada dominated possession for long spells in the first half. Ashley Lawrence and Allysha Chapman spent extended periods pushed forward with Jessie Fleming and Sophie Schmidt moving the ball well in front of a compact defensive Cameroon lineup. Buchanan and Shelina Zadorsky also found themselves able to push forward and spent extended periods with the ball at their feet in the early going.
Canada earned seven corner kicks in the first half keeping Cameroon on the back foot, however, the African side’s pace became evident as they launched several counter-attacks. Nichelle Prince’s cross in the 13’ found Jessie Fleming in the box for a headed chance. Just three minutes later Sophie Schmidt had another great headed opportunity on goal. Cameroon’s counter-attacking caused Canada a few issues in around the half-hour mark as Canada dropped back momentarily to defend. After a yellow card was shown to Cameroon’s Marylse Ngo Ndoumbouk. Canada began to take control again. Christine Sinclair’s header in the 40’ nearly found the net, and Nichelle Prince put a deflected shot off the post in the 44’ after Allysha Chapman pulled a ball across the box off a great run down the left side.
Cameroon came out in the second half determined to pressure but Chapman, Lawrence, Zadorsky, and Buchanan all had important tackles in the opening minutes of the second half. Lawrence also continued to find space wide, sending a cross onto the head of Sinclair in the 49’. Just a moment later, Jessie Fleming drew a free kick in a dangerous spot at the top of the Cameroon box. Sinclair stepped up and shot, but, the ball struck the wall and away out of danger. Lawrence once again played creator in the 60’, dropping a ball at Nichelle Prince’s feet in a dangerous area before Prince put the ball over the bar. Second half sub Deanne Rose showed off her blistering pace chasing down a ball in the corner and placing it on Christine Sinclair’s head in the box but she put the ball just wide. A slew of corner kick opportunities with Beckie, Sinclair, and Schmidt were taken to try for a second goal but the final whistle blew with Canada earning the 1-0 victory.
“As we keep them in the game, it will be tighter, we wanted to score early to get that pressure off our backs. On the goal, it was a great cross from Janine and just to finish was easy. It’s crucial to get the little gimmicks out and we will keep the momentum going and we’ll be better.” – Kadeisha Buchanan
Canada started Stephanie Labbé in goal, Ashley Lawrence at right back, Kadeisha Buchanan and Shelina Zadorsky at centre back, Allysha Chapman at left back, and Desiree Scott, Sophie Schmidt, Nichelle Prince, Janine Beckie, Jessie Fleming and Captain Christine Sinclair from the midfield up through to the attack. In the second half, coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller replaced Prince with Deanne Rose (75’).