Christine Sinclair (pictured) expresses her disappointment after Canada fell to England in the FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinals on June 27, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER – England capitalized on a pair of early defensive breakdowns to defeat Canada 2-1 in the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday at BC Place.
A record Canadian soccer crowd of 54,027 saw Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze net the goals that eliminated the host nation, which halved the deficit through Christine Sinclair before halftime.
The English will now meet defending-champion Japan in one semifinal on July 1 in Edmonton, while the United States and Germany will square off in the other a day earlier in Montreal.
Taylor gave England a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute after central defender Lauren Sesselmann puzzlingly ceded possession 15-yards inside her own end. The 29-year-old forward took control of the ball, dribbled up field and eluded Allysha Chapman, before placing a low, right-footed shot from the top of the box into the left side of the net.
Three minutes later, the advantage was doubled. Fara Williams hammered a right-sided free-kick to the left corner of Canada’s six-yard box. The wide-stationed Bronze got behind Chapman by running furiously at the ball to head it over goalkeeper Erin McLeod and off the underside of the crossbar.
Another English header almost put the game out reach, but Katie Chapman’s looping attempt crashed off the woodwork.
With urgency building, Sinclair – one of three players on the current Canadian roster to take part in the 2003 FWWC quarterfinal win over China – pulled one back with her second goal of the tournament and 155th of her career. England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley could not handle at the top of the six-yard box an Ashley Lawrence effort that was part shot, part cross. Sinclair reacted quickly and poked the loose home from four-yards out.
Second-half substitute Adriana Leon nearly set up the equalizer in the 83rd, but her left-sided cross was volleyed high by Sophie Schmidt from eight-yards out.
Just minutes earlier, McLeod pulled off one of the saves of the tournament, acrobatically getting a piece of her right hand on Taylor’s curling right-footer from the left side of the box.
“This is a real women’s football country,” said Canada head coach John Herdman in praise of the home supporters. “Those fans showed everyone around the world how to support the women’s game.
“Stick with us, that’s all I’m going to say. Stick with us. We’ll be back fighting. We’ll be back strong. We’ll learn from this and those youngsters have done you proud.”