Montpellier, France (June 10, 2019) — Canada overcame somewhat of a slow start to their FIFA Women’s World Cup opening match and finished off with a strong 1-0 victory over Cameroon.
Kadeisha Buchanan’s goal was the difference in a match that didn’t see a ton of chances for either side. Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé did enough in goal to post the clean sheet, despite only having to make one save. In addition, Canada continues their strong defensive play in 2019. They have now conceded one goal through their last 10 matches.
The match started out slow, with both teams taking their time to settle. It was clear from the start that Canada was going to play a possession-oriented style. Cameroon sat deep on defense, playing a five-back formation which stifled Canada early on. When Canada gave possession back to Cameroon, they immediately looked to play long balls forward, trying to hit Canada on the counter attack.
Cameroon must have been proud of their defensive performance for the first 40 minutes. They limited Canada’s chances, limiting Les Rouges to low percentage scoring chances. However, Cameroon could not hold it together late in the first half.
Nichelle Prince had a great opportunity in the 43rd minute, but her shot deflected off a defender, off the post and stayed out. The proceeding corner lead to some sloppy play from Cameroon at the back, Canada won another corner kick. This time Janine Beckie’s delivery was met at the back post by Kadeisha Buchanan and headed into the net. After a relatively slow start, Canada broke through Cameroon’s defense and took the 1-0 lead into halftime.
CANADA TAKE THE LEAD!
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 10, 2019
To begin the second half, Cameroon’s offensive woes continued. Meanwhile, Canada picked up right where they left off to end the second half. Canada owned a lot of the possession, and created a few more chances. In the 60th minute, Prince found herself in on goal, but her shot just missed wide.
The Cameroonians got into the match after a couple substitutions by Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa around the 70th minute. Cameroon’s best chance of the game fell to Claudine Meffometou, whose free header in the box just missed the target. It was a great chance for Cameroon to get an equalizer after some poor marking by Canada off of a set piece. Other than that, Canada did an excellent job all match to limit Cameroon’s chances.
In the final 10 minutes, Canada re-gained control of the majority of possession. They never let Cameroon into the 18-yard box again. Christine Sinclair had a glorious opportunity for her 182nd international goal, but it was cleared off the line. This is the first time in Sinclair’s five World Cup appearances that she hasn’t scored in the opening match.
Canada heads to Grenoble for a match on Saturday against New Zealand. Cameroon’s World Cup campaign will see them face Netherlands on Saturday in Valenciennes.