Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team, ranked fifth in the FIFA World Rankings defeated number three ranked England 1:0 in an intense pre-FIFA Women’s World Cup™ encounter at sold-out Academy Stadium in Manchester, UK. Christine Sinclair pounced on a rebound of a Nichelle Prince shot that hit the cross bar in the 80’ for her 180th career goal, leaving her five short of the all-time international goal scoring record.
Canada remains undefeated in 2019 with a 5-0 record and five straight clean sheets. The victory brings Head Coach Heiner-Moller’s record to 11W-2D-4L since he began his tenure in January 2018.
“I think we put on a very good performance. This is one of the contestants who will compete to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup™,” said Heiner-Moller. “It is part of our DNA not to sit back and we can counter because we have fast players up front. We took the game back, took initiative, and even away from home we want to be that team. This win will definitely give us momentum and I think this was a big step for us. We’ve played some big opponents ahead of this match, but, this was by far our best opponent this year.”
In the opening half, Canada had success in organized attack and kept possession for much of the opening fifteen minutes. Sophie Schmidt had Canada’s best chance early, after combining with Allysha Chapman and putting a rebound off a deflected shot just wide of England keeper Karen Bardsley’s net. Nichelle Prince had a chance in the 22’ when a ball into the 18 fell to her but her shot did not get through on goal. Canada’s defensive shape kept England from mounting any meaningful attack in the opening 40’ and while England were able to create a few chances on the counter late, Stephanie Labbé ensured the teams went into half time 0:0.
At the 50’ in the start of the second half, Janine Beckie forced a Bardsley save with a blast from 8 yards out. England’s pressure caused trouble for spells in the second half with Canada forced to defend deep and England testing Canada’s back line. Second half sub Jayde Riviere got free in space in the 77’ but England were able to recover inside the box with a tackle to stop the chance. After Ashley Lawrence played a ball into the box, Nichelle Prince hit a bouncing ball into the underside of the crossbar, over Bardsley. The ball ricocheted back to Sinclair who took a deft touch off her thigh and hit the half volley giving Canada the 1:0 lead.
“I think it was a battle. Two of the top teams in the world going head to head. I think it was a matter of inches. They made a couple great saves, our keeper made a couple great saves and I think we were fortunate to get one,” said Captain Christine Sinclair. “These are the games you live for, it’s the perfect preparation for us for the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ and I think you’re looking at two teams that are hopefully going to go pretty far in the tournament.”
Canada’s Starting XI featured Stephanie Labbé in goal, Allysha Chapman, Kadeisha Buchanan, Shelina Zadorsky, and Ashley Lawrence, and Sophie Schmidt, Desiree Scott, Jessie Fleming, Captain Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, and Nichelle Prince in midfield through attack.
Heiner-Moller replaced Chapman with Jayde Riviere (55’), Schmidt with Julia Grosso (75’), Nichelle Prince with Deanne Rose (83’), and Beckie with Shannon Woeller (90’).
The win over England brings Canada’s all-time record against the Lionesses to 6W-0D-7L over 13 matches. Prior to tonight’s match, Canada had played England 12 times registering five wins, and seven loses. The most recent match had been the quarterfinal of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.
Canada to face Nigeria 8 April in Spain
Canada Soccer has added a second International Friendly match to the Women’s National Team camp. Canada will face Nigeria on Monday, 8 April at Pinatar Stadium in Murcia, Spain.
“It’s going to be great,” said Heiner-Møller about the addition of a match against Nigeria. “We have been looking for a strong African opponent ever since we drew Cameroon in the group stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, so this is a great opportunity for us to understand better the style and how to play around it.”