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Canada National Team

World Cup syndrome hits host Canada in Women’s World Cup

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Last year, Brazil seemed listless at times against Croatia and drew Mexico on home soil.

This year, the Canadian Women’s National Team has the same 4 points, albeit in even less convincing fashion.

Granted, the Canadians aren’t the heavy favorites the Selecao were going into the men’s tourney last year, but there were definitely those who felt that the home crowds would instigate Christine Sinclair & Co. into a showing that could go toe-to-toe with the best.

Instead, recent years have seen home teams riddled with tightness, perhaps the inability to overcome the immense expectations. In Germany in 2011 or Brazil in 2014, it was the lofty goals of teams that not only could win it, but should in the minds of their rabid supporters.

In Canada, though, it seems less about “win or else” but “win so the sport can grow.” That may be too much to ask of a squad with a couple of excellent players (Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt) but with other positions that have fallen short under the microscope of the entire country.

This was especially evident in their opening victory, where their back 4 gifted the Chinese with several chances to open the scoring on the counter. Canada was able to benefit from China’s pragmatism and lack of finishing, earning and converting a questionable penalty in the final minutes.

The Canadians seemed to come to life yesterday after New Zealand struck the crossbar with their own chance from the penalty spot. Kiwi goalkeeper Erin Nayler frustrated Canada with some timely saves to preserve the draw.

That leaves the Canucks on a likely path through to the Knockout Stages – a draw against the Netherlands would be enough. But it shouldn’t be this difficult for a team of Canada’s ilk. No, they aren’t the machine-like Germans or the technically-proficient French (two teams that granted their early exit 4 years ago).

But winning Group A should have been a mere formality for Canada. Heck, it’s still the most likely outcome. But unless their performances improve in quick fashion, another incarnation of will conclude with disappointment for the host nation.

 

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