Going into the finale of a doubleheader with Japan, head coach John Herdman said he wanted to reward the Canadian faithful with some goal scoring. The skipper got his wish, thanks to a brace by Sophie Schmidt. However, it’ll be the dramatic closing minutes the fans won’t forget anytime soon. Canada appeared destined for a hard fought draw, but the visitors secured a 3:2 victory in the dying seconds of the match. The final whistle blew after Japan scored that goal.
A win for the Japanese; a lesson learned for Canada.
Canadian head coach John Herdman:
“It’s bittersweet. I’m disappointed with what happened in the end there, but can’t fault the performance of these Canadian women. Every time we ask them to pull on the red shirt, I know what we’re going to get. It’s 100 per cent to make their country proud.”
“I think all I’m going to say is disappointed with the result, but in terms of the performance, they can be proud of what they’ve done. At the World Cup, we’re going to be there fighting. You can see this team isn’t too far away with all of the preparation that we do.”
Sophie Schmidt reflects on the game:
“We walk away discouraged that we lost. It’s a little bit discouraging because you want to win in Canada, in front of your fans. You want to give them something to be excited about. But, there’s a lot of good things we walk away with. I think we shut down Japan really well. We limited their chances. Their goals were world class goals. We created amazing opportunities for ourselves, but we just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. We walk away with that. As a front five, we know we need to be clinical heading into the World Cup. That’s going to make a difference. That’s what sets the best teams apart in the world.”
Stephanie Labbe on facing Japan and communicating with her defenders:
“We definitely came into this game to turn it around from last game and really looking to put a good performance in. One of the goals today was to score for our fans and we did that twice. We pushed this team, who is one of the best teams in the world, if not the best team, we pushed them to the 93rd minute and really fought hard. I’m so proud of everyone for coming out with that determination and not to just sit back and hope for a tie. We went for a win for the entire game and we really pushed them.”
“It felt really good. We were on page for the majority of the game. We should’ve got at least a tie out of this game. I think it’s a lot to be confident about. I know we can now look inside and know we have that next level.”
Jessie Fleming on her scoring opportunities and the match:
“I’m definitely disappointed I didn’t finish those off and that’s something I need to work on. I think there are a lot of positives to take away from the game because Japan is one of the best teams in the world. As much as we’d like to have won, I think there’s a lot of reflecting we can do.”
“I think we deserved to draw that game. There were parts of the game we were outplaying them and I think we got a little bit unlucky on a couple of the goals. I think there’s a little bit of disappointment, but there are positives to take away from this game.”
Christine Sinclair on youngster Jessie Fleming:
“Oh my God. She’s incredible. I don’t think anything phases her. Playing against some of the best midfielders in the world and she held her own. She was unlucky a little bit. She could’ve had a couple of goals, I think.”
About the author:
Sandra Prusina is a journalist and broadcaster based out of Calgary, Canada. She has covered women’s soccer since 2010. She is also a segment reporter for Olympic Broadcast Services, traveling to Vancouver, London and Sochi to work for the host broadcaster.