Hosts Canada looked to be on the way out of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 at half-time of their Group A match against Finland on Friday. Trailing 2-0, Andrew Olivieri’s side needed a special second-half performance if they were to stay in the competition and cheer the 16,000 fans who had come to support them at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto.
The Young Canucks duly delivered one, doing what no side has ever done before in the competition by overturning the two-goal deficit to win 3-2. Canada’s saviour was Nichelle Prince, who served up an assist for her side’s opening goal and then scored the winner, helping to put them back on track for the quarter-finals.
To mark this tournament first, FIFA.com grabbed an exclusive and unique interview with Canada’s hero of the hour.
FIFA.com: Who was the first person to speak in the dressing room at half-time?
Nichelle Prince: Lindsay Agnew (one of Canada’s substitute defenders). She came in and told us that everyone in the room had been 2-0 down in a match before, that it was nothing new and that we could come back. What she said inspired and motivated all the players. I really admire her for that. She’s a fantastic team-mate and she helped all of us at half-time.
What is the first thing that went through your mind when you scored the winning goal?
Woo-hoo, I’ve done it! I was so excited. I said to myself: ‘We’re in the lead now’. And we stayed there too.
What is your first football memory?
I was four. My first memory was me crying my eyes out when my parents took me to soccer because I didn’t want to play. I ended up loving it, of course. There, that’s my first memory (laughs).
What is the first football shirt you ever bought?
That’s easy. An Argentina shirt, a Lionel Messi one. And I’ve still got it, obviously.
What is the first interview you ever gave?
It was probably for athletics, the other sport I used to do. I remember giving my first interview and thinking how strange it was to see myself in the paper a few days later.
What was your first big sporting disappointment?
I feel very disappointed after every defeat, though the one that’s affected me the most came with the U-17s, in the quarter-finals of the 2012 World Cup in Azerbaijan. We were very down and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so disappointed since I started playing football.
Who is the first person you’ll call after today’s win over Finland?
My parents, just to thank them again and again for supporting me and for always being there for me, and for forcing me to play football when I was four (laughs).
What will be your first post on Facebook or Twitter after tonight’s match?
I haven’t put one up yet, but it will probably be to congratulate and thank Toronto for the incredible support we’ve had in these two games, especially tonight.
Who is the first coach you can remember and what you learned from them?
The first things I was told were when I was at Ajax (her home town in Ontario), and my coach taught me how to dribble with the ball.
What is the first thing you do when you get home after a match?
Sleep or maybe read a book, though I’m more inclined to do that after a win and less so after a defeat. And recover for the next game.
What is the first thing you’d take to a deserted island?
That’s hard. Probably my mobile phone. Hopefully there’d be a Wi-Fi connection (laughs).
What is the first thing you’ll do if you win the World Cup?
Just go out and celebrate with my team-mates.