The road to Canada
Hosts Canada have been looking forward to the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ since they were awarded the showcase event of women’s football in March 2011. In that time, John Herdman’s side have been preparing to welcome the world’s best and the Canadians have proven they can compete with some of the top teams in the world by taking home medals from the London 2012 Olympics and the 2011 Pan-American games.
While Canada did not take part in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship 2014 as a result of their automatic qualification, the Canucks have kept competitive in the build up to next summer's Women's World Cup by taking fifth place at the 2014 Cyprus Cup along with several friendlies throughout the year, including an impressive 1-1 draw against USA.
Strengths and style
Canada will rely on several experienced players to take the hosts far in the tournament, though with a vast majority of the squad competing in the National Women’s Soccer League, even the younger players look ready to contribute.
Christine Sinclair will likely be Canada’s main attacking threat up front, as she has been since breaking onto the scene at the inaugural FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2002 – also held in Canada – where she took home adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe honours. Canada’s captain will also have support from a formidiable foursome of vastly experienced midfielders in Diana Matheson, Kaylyn Kyle, Sophie Schmidt and Brittany Baxter.
With Erin McLeod and Karina LeBlanc competiting for the No1 spot in goal and a tough backline with Emily Zurrer, Carmelina Moscato and Rhian Wilkinson at its nucleus, Canada are expected to be strong on both sides of the ball.
After taking over from Carolina Morace only a couple of months after taking New Zealand to Germany 2011, John Herdman led Canada to a first-ever gold medal at the 2011 Pan-American games, commencing a period of unprecedented success for the Canucks.
Herdman’s most recent achievement came at London 2012 when Canada took bronze by beating France 1-0, courtesy of Matheson’s 92nd-minute strike. The English-born coach’s two previous trips to the Women’s World Cup with the Football Ferns in 2007 and 2011 has already paid dividends for Canada, but as hosts, Herdman will be looking to utilise his experience and ambition to guide Canada all the way to the Final in Vancouver on 5 July.
FIFA Women's World Cup record
- This will be Canada’s sixth appearance at a FIFA Women's World Cup
- Canada’s best performance came in 2003 when they finished fourth, the only occasion they have escaped the group stage
What they said
“It's incredibly exciting… I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic tournament and I must say that I feel good about how the Canada team is shaping up. I think we're peaking at the right time,” Christine Sinclair, Canada forward