Canada and New Zealand have not faced each other in a competitive game since the Pacific Cup in 2000. Since then, they have played a series of seven friendly matches against each other. With a total of 9 games played head-to-head, Canada are dominant with 6 wins, 2 draws and only 1 loss. Both teams are determined they will win this years World Cup, but only one can be victorious.
The host country are playing their 6th Women's World Cup this year, but with a record of five wins, three draws and eleven losses, their results aren't exactly sparkling. Their most recent success was a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics in London and coach John Herdman – who actually previously coached for the New Zealand team, and likely to have a conflict of emotion – is in fact adamant they have what it takes to win the tournament and that they are the better team.
Christine Sinclair – one of our players to look out for – scored their only goal in the first match of the tournament against China PR, putting them at the top of Group A. With the help of 26 year old midfielder Sophie Schmidt (voted “Player of the Match” on Saturday), Canada are a strong team and now that they've survived their first match in front of 53,000 people, they're hoping it will be easier to show off their strengths.
The Football Ferns – as they are also known – have participated in only 4 World Cup tournaments and are yet to pass the group stage. As well as this, they are also currently in a 6-game losing streak, last winning a friendly game against Denmark in January! Despite their difficulty in finding success recently and being at the bottom of the first round matches, it is still expected to be a very tight match between the two teams.
English-born coach Tony Readings has been managing New Zealand Women's Soccer Team since John Herdman's departure in 2011 and is confident, along with the players, that they have what it takes to come out as winners despite their dry spell. A player to look out for is captain and central defender Abby Erceg who became the first New Zealander to reach 100 caps out of both male and female players!
The pressure is on for both sides... Canada to maintain their top spot in the group, and New Zealand to bounce up to at least 3rd for a chance to get into the knockout stages. The match kicks off Thursday June 11th at 19:00 local time. Our prediction for the game is 2-1 to Canada.
Download our Group Stage and Knockout Charts and keep up to date on the matches in our Resource Centre!