Canada have advanced from Group A at the Women’s World Cup after a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands. A first half Ashley Lawrence opener was looking like giving the host nation their second win, that was until a late Kirsten van de Ven equaliser gave the Oranje hope of progressing.
With China drawing 2-2 with New Zealand in the other game of the group, the Leeuwinnen finish third behind China and Canada, who go through as winners. However all is not lost for the Netherlands as four out of the six groups require a third placed team to go through, and with the Dutch getting four points, it’s likely they’ll progress to the next round.
45,420 spectators watched on as Canada never really threatened after the opening goal as the Dutch started to show the potential that was seen in the qualifying phases for the tournament. Both sides though had strikers with points to prove, prolific Canadian legend Christine Sinclair hadn’t quite shown the prowess she’s become known for, while Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands hadn’t set the world alight as promised after her 16 goals in 13 games in qualifying.
The hosts started the game brighter, and got their reward when a well worked throw in was flicked on, only for the shot to deflect into the path of Lawrence, who slotted home for her first goal of the tournament, leaving the Netherlands with a real mountain to climb. However following a drab first half, the Leeuwinnen soon woke up in the second half.
Two penalty appeals were turned down for the Netherlands as Canada retreated into their shell somewhat, not showing the same attacking threat they did in the first half, or in fact for the entirety of the tournament. Sherida Spitse and Manon Melis were the real threats for Holland, with the pair linking up well for the equaliser.
Spitse played the ball into Melis, who held it up superbly for second half substitute van de Ven, who was in acres of space. Melis played an intricate through ball to the substitute who powered the ball home into the top corner. With only five minutes left on the clock, the Netherlands went in search of a winner, which would see them top the group, and possibly send Canada out.
The winning goal never came to fruition however and Canada scraped through, as Holland finally decided to wake up and show themselves as potential threats. After two timid performances by the Dutch, they now have to rely on other results in other groups if they are to be one of the four third placed teams to make it through.
Despite winning only one game, and scoring two goals, Canada survive as group winners, with the pressure of being the host nation appearing to be getting to them. China go through in second place on goals scored, as they managed one more than the Netherlands. New Zealand head out of the tournament as their agonising wait for a first World Cup win goes on.
The Netherlands are favourites to move into the round of 16 phase, as four points puts them in good stead. However they’ll need to really step up if they are to make it any further, with the second half of this game being the highlight of their tournament thus far.