Canada’s potential path through the knockout stage
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Jun 17, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Canada’s potential path through the knockout stage

Teams to avoid include Norway, Japan and Germany

OurWindsor.Ca

Now that Canada has clinched first place in Group A and a place in the next round, we look at one route the players could take on their way to the final at BC Place in Vancouver, Sunday, July 5.

Round of 16

BC Place, Vancouver

Sunday, June 21

Team they want to play: Cameroon

Team they want to avoid: Switzerland

Though Cameroon would be the lowest-ranked team to reach the round of 16, the African nation was a formidable challenger in Group C, handily beating Ecuador by six goals and only falling to holders Japan 2-1. Canada struggled against the unfamiliar man-to-man style chosen by most African teams when they met Nigeria in a training match in Toronto at the end of May, held to a scoreless draw by the Super Falcons. The Canadians may be more accustomed to Switzerland’s zone system, but there’s no reason the Canucks shouldn’t be expected to comfortably beat either squad.

Will they move on? Likely

Quarter-finals

BC Place, Vancouver

Saturday, June 27

Team they want to play: England

Team they want to avoid: Norway

Norway stormed through Group B with an offensive prowess that was notably missing from the Canadian lineup, and finished second to Germany on goal difference. The Canadians would be much better off facing the less-confident Lionesses, who also had a mediocre run in the round robin and who they defeated before the World Cup. Canada will be reliant on the fans, their much-touted “twelfth man”, to give them the home soil edge and propel the team to victory.

Will they move on? It’s a toss-up.

Semi-finals

Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Wednesday, July 1

Team they want to play: Brazil

Team they want to avoid: Japan

Holders Japan were the first team to clinch their group in the first round and, despite only managing narrow wins over Switzerland and Cameroon, neither a loss nor a draw ever looked likely. Japan could be the first top-five ranked team Canada will face in the tournament and it will be a true test to see if the Canadians can keep up with the finest in the world. Based on the home team’s performances so far, it’s hard to see Canada mounting a real challenge against the Japanese. Avoiding a heavy defeat and striving for another third-place finish might be their best bet.

Will they move on? Destined for bronze.

Bronze-medal game

Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Saturday, July 4

Team they want to play: United States

Team they want to avoid: Germany

Two of the tournaments greatest forces, Germany and the United States, could usurp the final earlier in the week when the meet in a semi-final cracker in Montreal. It would take Abby Wambach and company a performance of a lifetime to defeat the Germans, meaning the Canada-U.S. rivalry of late could be reignited in the fight for third.

Likelihood of third-place finish: Good.

Gold-medal game

BC Place, Vancouver

Sunday, July 5

Team they want to play: United States

Team they want to avoid: Germany

Canadian coach John Herdman has openly spoke about his dream final, where captain Christine Sinclair hoists the World Cup in her hometown after defeating the Americans. His ideal scenario, though unlikely, is not simply ideal because of the romance factor: Canada would have much better a chance against the United States than world No. 1 Germany. But it would be a shock for Germany to be knocked out before the final and, like in the semi-finals against Japan, Canada will have to play above their grade if they want to sneak a win, no matter if the whole country’s behind them.

Likelihood of hoisting the cup: Slim.

Toronto Star

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