Canada retake centre stage, former champions clash
After the action returns following the first rest day of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, Thursday promises to provide several enticing encounters with two games on tap in Ottawa and another double-header set to run into the Edmonton evening as Groups A and B take to the field for their second matches of Canada 2015.
Hosts Canada take on New Zealand and former world champions Germany and Norway meet in Ottawa, while Côte d’Ivoire battle Thailand and China PR are up against the Netherlands in a full slate of football on the fifth day of the Women’s World Cup.
Match of the day
Canada-New Zealand, Edmonton, 11 June, 19.00 local time
The hosts’ second match of the tournament sees coach John Herdman facing his former team, the Football Ferns. Herdman coached the New Zealand women from 2006 to 2011 before taking the Canadian reins, so the game will understandably carry some extra emotion for the England native.
And while Canada are currently atop Group A and New Zealand find themselves at the opposite end after the first round of matches, a tight contest is expected. The hosts needed the heroics of Christine Sinclair in stoppage time to beat China PR, and New Zealand were only undone by a stunning strike from Lieke Martens to leave their encounter with the Dutch empty handed.
Canada would love maintain their perfect start to their World Cup campaign, and they will be attempting to do so in front of another near-capacity crowd at Commonwealth Stadium. Meanwhile, the Football Ferns are looking to break their World Cup duck and find their first win in their 11th match on the global stage.
The other matches
Germany-Norway, Ottawa, 11 June, 16.00 local time
The first match of the day is a clash of the European heavy hitters in Group B with two-time world champions Germany taking on Sweden 1995 winners Norway. The Final at the Women’s World Cup 20 years ago is the only occasion the two teams have met in the competition, and the Scandinavians ran out 2-0 winners. However, Germany have enjoyed more recent success at the World Cup, including back-to-back championships at USA 2003 and China 2007, so those in attendance in Ottawa should be in for a treat.
China PR-Netherlands, Edmonton, 11 June, 16.00 local time
The Netherlands made a perfect start to their maiden Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 win against New Zealand, while China were unlucky to leave with nothing after a late Canadian penalty. The crowd who enter the stadium in Edmonton early, eagerly anticipating the hosts duel with the Football Ferns, should be in for a hard-fought battle between two teams desperate to find a way into the Round of 16.
Côte d’Ivoire-Thailand, Ottawa, 11 June, 19.00 local time
The second match on the docket at Lansdowne Stadium will be an interesting affair, as both Women’s World Cup newcomers are looking to rebound after suffering heavy defeats during the opening games. Norway handed the Thais a 4-0 loss, while Germany put Les Elephantes to the sword with a 10-0 humbling welcome to the world stage. Despite the big deficits in front of them, three points from their second game for either team could still serve them well in a bid to sneak into the Round of 16.
Player to watch
Anja Mittag, the second German player to hit a hat-trick against Côte d’Ivoire on Sunday was in scintillating form against Les Elephantes, and the No11 will need to maintain her scoring prowess to go up against a significantly tougher Norway side. The recent Paris Saint-Germain transfer has represented Germany 121 times, scoring 36 goals along the way and is a vital part of Silvia Neid’s squad, alongside the likes of Celia Sasic and 2013 Women’s World Player of the Year Nadine Angerer.
– The record number of games New Zealand have played at the Women’s World Cup in their history without recording a victory.
“I get a chance to play against my old team New Zealand, which I was hoping was going to happen. I’ve only coached two groups of players in the women’s game. The New Zealand girls meant a lot to us, so to be able to share a moment in Canada is going to be really cool,” John Herdman, Canada coach.
China PR-Netherlands (Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, 16.00)
Canada-New Zealand (Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, 19.00)
Germany-Norway (Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa, 16.00)
Côte d’Ivoire-Thailand (Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa, 19.00)
All times local