Editorial (June 12, 2019) — Canada began their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign with a positive 1-0 result over Cameroon on Monday. Canada dictated the flow of the game, as well as the majority of possession, and played strong defense.
They held Cameroon to just one shot on target. However, the Canadians could only put one goal past the Cameroon goalkeeper. That re-enforces the questions about Canada’s lack of offense heading into this World Cup.
Canada’s defense passed the first test, but the final exam is still to come. Cameroon were never really a huge threat to score on Monday. The Canadians played solid defense as a unit, and never really allowed Cameroon too much of a chance to test Stephanie Labbé.
The standout performer was Kadeisha Buchanan, who not only scored a goal but made some critical tackles. Canada is likely to go as far as their defense will take them in this tournament. Meanwhile, keeping a clean sheet is a nice start. There will be tougher tasks ahead, but Canada got the job done.
Kadeisha Buchanan statline vs Cameroon
1 goal (1 chance)
88% pass completion (61 passes)
7/11 d. challenges
2 fouls won
3/4 o. challenges
2 aerial duels won
— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) June 10, 2019
In modern day soccer, fullbacks are becoming relied upon to get forward and provide support on the attack. Ashley Lawrence and Allysha Chapman did that against Cameroon. Chapman dashed into the box in the 43rd minute and her cross lead to Nichelle Prince’s shot hitting the post.
Meanwhile, Ashley Lawrence played a great ball in the 60th minute to Prince once again, who couldn’t find the back of the net. Both players showed their willingness to get forward all throughout the match. This is promising and with the quality of both Chapman and Lawrence, not surprising.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) June 11, 2019
Canada played a clean match and did not receive any bookings. In an international tournament, this is crucial. Two yellow cards in the group stage games would result in a one match suspension, which is something that most teams cannot afford. Canada did well to tackle within the laws and stay without any cautions for their second group stage match against New Zealand.
Canada vs Cameroon – inStat Top Rated
1. Kadeisha Buchanan (CAN)
T2. Sophie Schmidt (CAN)
T2. Ashley Lawrence (CAN)
4. Allysha Chapman (CAN)
5. Jessie Fleming (CAN)
Bottom Rated (min. 30′ played)
1. Ajara Njoya Nchout (CAM)
2. Jeannette Yango (CAM)
3. Gabrielle Onguene (CAM)
— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) June 10, 2019
Lack of Offense
Canada could only muster up one goal from their 65 percent of possession and only had four shots on target. With this being their easiest match-up on paper, this does not bode well for the more important matches upcoming. The biggest question on Canada coming into France was who was going to support Christine Sinclair with goal scoring.
Those questions stay relevant now as Canada only got one, from a central defender nonetheless. Janine Beckie and Jessie Fleming had good games and definitely are threats to find the back of the net. Beckie even recorded the assist on Buchanan’s goal. Meanwhile, Nichelle Prince had multiple chances to get Canada another goal. Those three will be heavily relied upon to come up with some goal scoring against New Zealand and Netherlands.
Directly related to Canada’s inability to generate a ton of offense, was their inability to get their star Sinclair touches on the ball. The 35-year-old superstar was relatively quiet and didn’t get too many opportunities to score her 182nd international goal. She found her way into the game late, where she almost put her name on the score sheet. However, her attempt was cleared off the line.
Other than that, her only other good opportunity to score was a 51st minute free kick that hit Cameroon’s wall. If Canada are going to solve their offensive questions, getting Christine Sinclair on the ball more would be a great start. Sinclair still has that ability to only need one chance to get the job done, but getting her more opportunities to create something could really help Canada going forward.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) June 10, 2019
A Win is a Win
Overall, this was a positive start for Canada. It was as convincing as a 1-0 victory can be. Canada never really looked in danger of losing this match. They played well to their strengths and showed how dominating their team defense can be. The Canadians controlled the flow of the game and really shut down Cameroon in transition. All eleven players played well. However, in the coming games, the offense for Canada is going to be held to a tougher test and someone will have to step up.