Canadian Women Driven By Rivalry

from fifa.com



Living to the north of one of the most successful nations in women’s football cannot be easy. Just ask the Canadians. A vastly improved team over the past four years, the Canucks have lived in the shadow of the American stars their entire careers. However, a 1-1 draw at the Algarve Cup on Friday and a string of good results against their neighbours may be changing all that.

Including the draw in Portugal, the Canadians have actually proved the equal of the two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champions over the past seven games, with two losses, two victories, and three draws. An impressive record considering that no team has an overall winning record against the Americans except for Norway.

Article from fifa.com



Living to the north of one of the most successful nations in women’s football cannot be easy. Just ask the Canadians. A vastly improved team over the past four years, the Canucks have lived in the shadow of the American stars their entire careers. However, a 1-1 draw at the Algarve Cup on Friday and a string of good results against their neighbours may be changing all that.

Including the draw in Portugal, the Canadians have actually proved the equal of the two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champions over the past seven games, with two losses, two victories, and three draws. An impressive record considering that no team has an overall winning record against the Americans except for Norway.



Of course, the Americans have still won 24 of the 30 matches the two teams have played in total, scoring almost five times as many goals in the process. Perhaps that statistic gives some indication of the frustration the Canada team feels.



“The Canadians want to beat us more than they want to breathe,” said American coach April Heinrichs, echoing a sentiment the Canadians themselves are more than happy to affirm.



After the match, star striker Charmaine Hooper said this, “We are very, very disappointed with a draw against them. When we play [America] we absolutely should win, anything less feels like a loss to me. We’ve lost to them for so many years, and we are tired of it. We do not like it. It’s a game that the team doesn’t have any trouble getting up for. We’re all extremely motivated.”



Randee Hermus, who was initially credited with the goal before it went to Andrea Neil, reiterated the views of her team-mate, “We have always been in the shadow of the U.S. because they have been so successful. But, now they can’t beat us the way they used to. They are our biggest rivals, and we really want to beat them. We’d like to beat them all the time if we could.”



This draw in Southern Portugal was difficult for both sides to take. Hooper felt that a goal ruled out for offside could have been the difference in the match. “I think we should have won this time. We had opportunities that were taken from us. We had clearer chances. We played better than they did.”



Heinrichs was upset for a different reason. “[Canada] are intense, which is fine, but I hope that referees get stronger directives regarding destructive play. Every time the ball was in the air there was more than enough physical contact. They were consistently undercutting us.



“If that’s the way that they’re going to be allowed to play, I hope they play like that against all the other teams. Ultimately, I hope things don’t go in that direction. I would hate to see overly physical play rewarded at the World Cup”



“With the Americans, it’s absolutely a grudge match. We know they don’t like it when we play aggressively,” said Hermus. “We play physically regardless, but we know that they’ve mentioned not liking to play us because we battle them. That’s good. We’re not cheap or dirty, we just like to win the ball. We don’t back down from them.”



There is one thing the two sides do agree on however: that Canada could turn out to be very dangerous come China 2003.



The American coach went on to say, “The thing is, we have a lot of respect for our opponents. Always. But, especially when it comes to Canada. I’ve been saying for the last three years that Canada are closing the gap, especially when they play us … More credit to them. If they feel that their confidence is high, that’s great. They’ve made a lot of progress. If I was their coach, I would feel very positive about their results, and I would be pumping my players up if I could. I would want to go into the World Cup with the highest level of confidence that I could.”



Hooper concludes, “They’re a very good team and they always have been, but I really think that over the last four years the gap between us has really tightened. That says something about us. They know that.”



– article from fifa.com web site

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