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Women’s World Cup Rewind: England beats Canada in thriller; Japan slides past Australia

England Canada WWC Quarterfinal 2 (Jane Gershovich:SBI)

Photo by Jane Gershovich/SBI Soccer


Fans of the Canadian Women’s National Team had dreams of hoisting a World Cup on home soil, and many believed that dream wasn’t completely far-fetched.

England had a different dream, and helped keep it alive after a strong start Canada could never overcome.

A quick surge of English dominance led to two goals before the 15-minute mark as the European side eventually progressed with a 2-1 victory over Canada. The Canadians battled back and eventually pulled a goal back, but eventually paid for chances they missed early in the match.

England will next face reigning World Cup champion Japan, which booked its place in the semifinals with a win against Australia, which gave the Japanese all they could handle. A late goal saw Japan through to the semifinals.

Canada had an outstanding run in the eighth minute of play. Christine Sinclair put together a Messi-esque run on the right side of the pitch, embarrassing two English players before whipping in a stellar cross to Melissa Tancredi. Tancredi beat an English defender and cut in towards the net, but her shot was just high, and Canada would pay for the miss.

England was the first to strike through Jodie Taylor in the 11th minute of play. Taylor struck a clinical finish after capitalizing on a horrid giveaway from Lauren Sesselmann in the midfield.

Just three minutes later, England found a second off of a great service from Fara Williams on a deep set piece. Lucy Bronze lofted a header to put England up 2-0 with her second goal in as many matches.

Canada found its way back into the match in front of 55,000 screaming fans, though. Ashley Lawrence whipped in a cross that went into the hands of the English goalkeeper, but Karen Bardsley couldn’t hold on to the swerving ball and legend Christine Sinclair finally found a deserved goal for Canada.

The second half produced no goals, but still a fair amount of intrigue. Bardsley had to leave the field with an eye problem, being replaced by goalkeeper Siobham Chamberlain. On the other end of the pitch, a brilliant save from Erin McLeod in Canada’s goal kept the host nation in the match. However, Canada couldn’t crawl back into the game and must now bow out of the competition.

In the first match of the day, Japan won a close and gritty match against Australia to pencil its name in the semifinals on Wednesday. The Japanese won, 1-0, with a goal just three minutes from time making the difference.

It was Mana Iwabuchi that sent the 2011 tournament champion’s through to the semis, scoring during pandemonium in front of Australia’s net in the 87th minute. Aya Miyama put a corner into the mix in front of goal, with the ball finding its way to Azusa Iwashimizu for a hard shot that led to Iwabuchi’s tally.

The fourth-ranked team in the Women’s World Cup was able to outlast the 10th ranked Matildas, who made their deepest ever run after shocking Brazil in the Round of 16.

And with that, Japan will face off against England on Wednesday in Edmonton.


  1. Anyone else wonder if England keeper Karen Bardsley had to go off due to turf pellet in the eye? She had a nasty reaction to something – the eye looked like it was swelling shut.

      • That was my thought as well. Not sure what else it could be.

        That was one of the most random injuries requiring a substitution I’d ever seen. Had Canada won, the smell of rat might be noticeable today…lol.

    • Unless we missed a finger to her eye, what else could it be but a turf pellet? FIFA will do whatever they can to cover it up as to not add more fuel to the turf debate

  2. Of the final three, only England probably has no real shot of winning it all. Japan is not at the level they were in 2011, but I would never, ever sleep on them. Germany is the clear favorite, but the USWNT for all their current faults, can still beat anybody with the right performance.

    I’m really glad Canada is out of the tournament. The narrative on them was getting really annoying, and Herdman, while I can appreciate his passion, just rubs me the wrong way. Never understood the talk of them having a real chance of getting to the final (even with a much easier path), nor the talk that Herdman has really improved their program. Really? Sure they were better than in 2011 (they had nowhere to go but up), but the performance here (with a homefield advantage and a cupcake draw, no less) still pales in comparison to 2012…and it’s very much the same team?!?!

    They have a few nice young pieces in Buchanan, Fleming, Lawrence and Leon, but is that really enough? Especially if Sinclair starts dropping off/retires? The rest of the team is really experienced (much older than I thought), and their player pool hasn’t expanded much past about 30 players over the past few years.

    I don’t know, I guess the narrative that the Canadian program has gotten significantly better under Herdman comes off as smoke and mirrors to try and hype the country for this WC to me. If it was so much better, than why were over-the-hill players like Sesselmann and Tancredi playing major minutes? Why did they only look good when Sinclair would assert herself in games? I think CanWNT fans have been bamboozled about the quality of their program to some extent.

    Ironically, they went out on their best performance of the tournament, but that only happened after they went down two goals and Sinclair went into “Incredible Hulk sense of urgency mode” and the rest of the team followed her lead.

    Nice effort, CanWNT. I just don’t think it was ever gonna be enough for your legendary striker to hoist the WC trophy.

  3. Poor Japan, they’ve not scored more than one goal in any game and just barely beat Australia which the US beat handily. I wonder if their fans are saying their coach doesn’t know what he’s doing and are demanding wholesale changes to the starting squad?

    • What was even more unfortunate for the Matilda’s was that the Japanese goal was a clear off sides that the ref’s blew the call on.

      Not sure which is more of a complaint now, the bracket seeding? The miserable turf? or the horrible refereeing? The schedules forcing some teams to cross Canada 4-5 times while others only once or twice? or even worse, the time differences for rest between matches. WTF… I guess Fifa was just too busy trying to cover their own @$$e$ from all the corruption and fraud, to actually run a competent Women’s World Cup tournament. Such a pity!

      • I don’t know what game you were watching but Australia had MULTIPLE players defending on the goal line and the play was not anywhere close to anything resembling offside.

      • Fox showed replay video in the post match final program, while interviewing their resident referee (Joe ??) how the goal scorer Iwabuchi was offside on the corner kick that led to the scramble and eventual goal. The play should have been blown dead upon striking the corner kick. The scramble ensued illegally and after the fact of the offsides by Iwabuchi. The killer for Aussies is that the side assistants blew the call on that corner.

      • I don’t think that was it.

        I don’t claim to know all the aspects of the offside rule, but Dr. Joe clearly said the Japanese goal scorer was in an offside position when the ball was played back to her because she was behind the goalie (who is usually the second defender) and there was only one Australian defender ahead of her in the six-yard box.

        The offside line is based on the second to last defender, which is usually the last field player with the goalie behind them. In this case, there were three players behind the GK, two Australians and the Japanese goal scorer. At the point the pass is made, the Japanese player looks to be slightly behind the standing Aussie defender with the other Aussie laying near the goal line.

        So, while it is offside by the slightest of measures, it was so close that it’s a tough call to make from the sidelines with that many bodies and that much action going on in the goal mouth.

        Personally, I’ve always been of the opinion that once the ball reaches the six-yard box, there should be no offside, but that’s just my opinion.

      • By law you cannot be offside on a CK, GK, or TI, so no, the play should not have been blow dead upon striking the CK. There may have been an offside offense in the ensuing scramble inside the goal area.

      • You are being disingenuous. You only SORTA tell that the player might have been offside from an overhead viewpoint. Everyone on the Fox panel agreed that it would have been hard to tell. As fars as I am concerned, it was not a missed called because as a former FIFA licensed referee (1) you are taught to when in doubt, favor the offense (even for those of us who played sports at high club levels and university into our 20’s that call was near impossible) (2) from what I could see I, I could barely tell because even with the overhead shot, her leading foot is off the ground (she was starting a move), but not her body. ONLY her foot. Non-call period.

    • You must be blind. Scoreline only tells part of the story. A lot of the games the great Spanish of 2007-2013 played were 1 goal wins, but they COMPLETELY controlled the games. They were just too selective with their shots sometimes.

      If the US played all tournament like the did against China, people won’t be slamming them so much (except for converting their opportunities). US came in #2, but were not playing like it. Japan is the defending champion, but people do not expect much of them (erroneously). If you watched Germany and France, they both looked a level or two above US. However, now that us has food another holding midfielder, sat Wambach for speedy striker to stretch the defense, and press the opposing teams, they look different. It does change the fact that France and Germany are the 2 best teams in the tournament.


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