WWC Quarter-Final: Canada vs England

-

with Jacob Windon
England are through to their first Women’s World Cup Semi Final courtesy of two early goals from Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze. Christine Sinclair pulled one back for the Canada before half-time but it was not enough for the hosts to salvage their campaign.

What Happened
England continued the momentum built from their second half against Norway last week to catch Canada sleeping. Jodie Taylor broke through an uncharacteristically soft-centred Canadian rearguard and finished with aplomb.

Just minutes later, Lucy Bronze rose highest to head in under the crossbar and double their advantage. It was extraordinarily bad defending from Canada for both goals, with Sesselman particularly culpable (never trust a defender who wears no. 10).

Canada were back into the game minutes before half time. Lawrence’s cross was spilled by Bardsley and pounced upon by Sinclair, whose superb cross-field switch had made the space for the crossing opportunity to arrive.

After half-time Karen Carney went close for England from long range after lashing one from 35 yards.

Karen Bardsley was then off sporting England’s second bruised eye of the tournament, replaced by Siobhan Chamberlain making her World Cup debut.

Schmidt went close when Canada picked up the intensity with 10 minutes left, volleying over from a corner. But Chamberlain was rarely tested, with England defending expertly for the entire second half.

A bitter defeat for Canada but an elated England keep growing in stature and momentum.

Stand Out Performances
A superb skipper’s knock from Steph Houghton led the way for England, who was immense in a solid defensive performance throughout. She may have abused her free-kick licence but Houghton used all her leadership and experience to recompose her team after Canada’s goal.

Christine Sinclair tried her heart out for Canada and dug deep to get her side back into game when they looked dead and buried. It’s sad to see her tournament end like this, when she could have been the heroine for her country.

Talking Points
Canada have won six of their last ten games 1-0. They’ve also drawn 0-0, 1-1 and won 2-0 in that period. That should give some idea of the unprecedented nature of the situation they found themselves in. They were put in a uncomfortable position via their own self-destruction and England’s ruthlessness. Whilst they rolled up their sleeves and fought back, it was too much of a mountain to climb. It does, however, show that Canada need to find a plan B on the rare occasions they go 2-0 behind in a game of this magnitude.

England, one feels, have been written off at every turn. They’ve failed to maintain a consistent standard of performance, were largely outplayed by Norway, got pegged back late by Mexico and Colombia, and have brought at least three or four changes to the lineup for every match. It’s a huge credit to the team that they have still found a way to get results despite struggling to assert themselves. England’s campaign should reopen time-honoured debates about squad management, rotation and finding stability and harmony in a team.

What it Means

No team in World Cup history has ever come back when trailing by two goals in a knockout stage. England are through to their first World Cup Semi Final in history.

What Next
England will be battling it out against Japan who came off a win this morning against Australia for a spot in the Final.

Needs Work
England were brilliant on the counter and this paid off with their early goals. Yet, towards the end of the match the increasing physicality and the pressure from the hosts who desired a late equaliser seemed to take its toll on all of England’s players.

In their Semi Final England will need to ensure that they do not switch off and concede unnecessarily; this is as much of a mental battle as it is physical.

Goal of the Match
A fall by Lauren Sesselmann provided the perfect opening for England’s Jodie Taylor to swoop in and take the ball. Taylor intelligently weaved her way through the hosts defence leaving them to urgently scatter around her to try and close down the play. The late scramble had no hope by the time Taylor fired into the back of the net, scoring the opener in the 12th minute of the match.

Miss of the Match
Canada’s very first opportunity in the match to score also saw the miss of the match. Captain Christine Sinclair started off the play which made England’s Laura Bassett scarily resemble David Luiz after being nutmegged.

Sinclair after showing off her skills, trailed off and crossed the ball to the other side of the field finding Melissa Tancredi, only for Tancredi to be unable to find the goal and fire right over the crossbar.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

mm
Jessica Csaszar
Jessica joined the team for 2014 covering Western Sydney Wanderers in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required