Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan (pictured) has been one of the outstanding defenders in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, Canada – A place in the final four is on the line, when FIFA Women’s World Cup (FWWC) host Canada takes on England in a quarterfinal Saturday at BC Place.
Here are Three Points to consider ahead of the game:
1) Familiarity will breed a winner
Saturday’s quarterfinal between England and Canada will be the third meeting between the sides this year. They first squared off on March 3 in the final of the Cyprus Women’s Cup with the English emerging as champion thanks to a 1-0 win. Lianne Sanderson (67’) scored the only goal midway through the second half. In their second encounter, Canada defeated the visiting English 1-0 on May 29 before a crowd of 23,197 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Sophie Schmidt (23’) netted the only goal with a brilliant right-footed volley. Clearly, very little separates the rivals.
2) Numbers game
A potentially daunting fact not falling in Canada’s favor is that the only FWWC host in six all-time editions to earn a place in the semifinals was the United States in 1999 and 2003. In five previous attempts, the Canadians have reached the semifinals only once following a 1-0 win over China in the 2003 quarterfinals. Current Canada captain Christine Sinclair played in that game, which was decided by Charmaine Hooper’s early goal. Another number to ponder is that England holds a slight advantage over Canada in wins, 6-5, over the course of 11 all-time games between them.
3) Defense doesn’t rest
In its four 2015 FWWC outings thus far, Canada has conceded only one goal. In the last Group A game against the Netherlands, Les Rouges saw Kristin Van De Ven level the match at 1-1 in the 87th minute. The Canadians have not been overly tested, but when called upon, goalkeeper Erin McLeod has come up large. Her flailing block at the edge of the six-yard box on Vanessa Bernauer’s effort with less than five minutes remaining in normal time preserved Canada’s 1-0 round of 16 win over Switzerland. Kadeisha Buchanan has been a stalwart in the back, playing every minute and demonstrating that – at 19-years-old – talent will make itself evident regardless of age. After being shutout 1-0 in its opener against France, England has won three straight games by the same 2-1 scoreline. If Canada wants to advance, it will have to shut down a team that seems to have found a very productive stride.