Canada are enjoying perhaps the most successful period in their history, having come out on top in the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying competition for the first time. Carolina Morace’s side swept all before them in Mexico, reaching the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ in style by winning all five qualifying matches, scoring 17 goals and conceding none. The Canucks’ goal now is to kick on and better the fourth place they achieved at USA 2003, their highest placing in the world finals to date.
The road to Germany
Canada received a bye to the final round of the CONCACAF tournament, where they were drawn in the same group as hosts Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. After struggling to a 1-0 victory over the Trinidadians, the Maple Leafs hit their stride, scoring eight goals without reply against the Guyanese and then producing their best display of the competition to see off Las Aztecas 3-0.
In topping their section they managed to avoid old foes USA in the semi-finals, coming up instead against Costa Rica. After sizing up their opponents in the opening 45 minutes, the Canadians hit top gear after the restart, cruising to a 4-0 win to confirm their presence at Germany 2011. Christine Sinclair’s solitary goal in the final then gave them another victory over fellow world-finalists Mexico.
The star players
That was the last and most important of Sinclair’s six goals in the competition. Ably supported by Jonelle Filigno, the No9 was the outstanding performer in a tightly knit unit, leading a prolific front line with élan. The Canadians also had their stars at the back, with goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and defender Rhian Wilkinson having a major hand in their five consecutive clean sheets.
Carolina Morace is no stranger to the international scene. Capped 153 times for Italy, she was regarded as one of the greatest strikers in the European women’s game. Appointed Canada coach in 2009, she is now working her magic from the touchline, having overseen their best ever performance in a CONCACAF qualifying competition.
Previous FIFA Women's World Cups
1 – The number of times Canada have got past the group phase in their four previous FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances.
What they said
“I’m proud of my players because they kept their feet on the ground and showed respect to their opponents. Respect, that’s the most important thing as far as I’m concerned. I’m very happy with our performances in the qualifiers but we know we have to take it up a level for the World Cup. We’re going to prepare thoroughly and arrive in Germany on top form. I’m very optimistic,” Canada coach Carolina Morace.