The tide is turning in women’s football, the Canadians are paying the price

A handful of days after losing in the consolation final against the Finns, the defeat is still painful within the Canadian team, which had previously bowed out in the semi-finals in front of the British.

In both cases, orchestrated offensive thrusts late in the fourth quarter sounded the death knell for the outgoing three-time world runners-up, making these setbacks even more painful to accept.

Great Britain first delivered the knockout blow to Canada with a touchdown with just two seconds remaining in the semi-final, then Finland won bronze on a successful field goal with 1:11. to be sold on the clock. Heartbreaking, you say?

It’s hard to swallow. From a personal point of view, this is the hardest thing I have experienced. In the end, it is a mourning that is to be done. We haven’t really talked about it together in the team, we have it wrong in the throat, and it will be for a long timeexplains linebacker Ophelia Poisson-Vecchio.

It was a shock for everyone, the first defeat, and even more so the second. We mainly focus on the final result, without analyzing the match, but are we really losing? I’m starting to realize that the result is not like the matches we played. We don’t have much to reproach ourselves for, I try to be positive. »

A quote from Virginie Roberge, offensive lineman for the Canadian women’s soccer team

Exceptionally, the recent world began with a knockout duel in the quarter-final stage, without a group stage, given that the format went from six to eight teams in contention. They therefore had no room for error, because a setback meant that the title was inaccessible.

Canadian performance in Vantaa:

Quarter-finals: Canada 33 – Australia 6

Semi-finals: Canada 13 – Great Britain 20

Consolation final: Finland 19 c. Canada 17

American dominance

In the past, the first three tournaments of the World Championship (2010, 2013, 2017) ended in a clash between the North American tenors. However, the United States each time had a clear advantage over Canada: 66-0, 64-0 and 41-16.

Ranked 2nd seed in Vantaa, behind its great rivals south of the border, the Canadian team had more golden aspirations than ever this year, according to the entire organization.

The maple leaf footballers certainly saw themselves reconnecting with the final, with the firm intention of putting a brake on American hegemony. The opportunity ultimately never materialized.

Previously, Americans were monstrous. But this year, they were human. We had the tools to overthrow them. »

A quote from Ophelia Poisson-Vecchio, linebacker for the Canadian women’s soccer team

We see that the gap is closing between all the teams, and it’s the same with the United States. There is an improvement in the teams. We are approaching the level of the Americans. The gold medal is more attainable than before. They were less intimidating this yearcontinues the quarterbacks instructor Saadia Ashraf, who also acts as head coach of the Montreal Blitz.

Nevertheless, the United States clinched a fourth crown and have yet to taste defeat in this competition. The Americans easily beat the Brits 42-14 for another final triumph by 25 points or more.

A domination that emanates in particular from the imposing pool of players who indulge in the oval ball, light years away from other countries, and thanks to the establishment in 2009 of the Women’s Football Alliance, which has since taken root, as evidenced by its 64 teams listed in 3 divisions.

Not to mention a development circuit, the sinews of war to train the next generation and ensure continuity.

Pass receiver Virginie Roussel caught 9 balls during the World Cup for gains of 138 yards.

Photo: Jari Turunen

For the past two years, there hasn’t been much football in Canada with the pandemic. We have to play big games to have competition, experience in this situation. It is important! The fact that we didn’t really play a lot of football didn’t help the resultssupports Saadia Ashraf, former quarterback of the Blitz and the national team.

Maybe we thought too much about the final before getting there… I don’t know. We had difficulty playing in adversity, playing in these difficult conditions. It was a good lesson for us. »

A quote from Saadia Ashraf, quarterbacks coach for the Canadian women’s soccer team

European countries are closing the gap

Women’s football is expanding. Slowly but surely it is growing in several European countries. Moreover, the two fallers of the representatives of the maple leaf come from the Old Continent, which had never happened before.

The level of women’s football is increasing exponentially, we all agreed on that in the team. It was never a real stress to reach the final. In fact, it had never happened that we did not go there. It was practice, if you will, before facing the United Statesmentions Ophelia Poisson-Vecchio.

Founded in 2020, the European League of Football will bring together 12 teams in 5 countries for its second campaign. The circuit now allows hundreds of players to continue their progress. Four formations, established in three new nations, are expected to join the dance in 2023.

Montreal Blitz players gather on the field.

The Montreal Blitz was created in 2001.

Photo: Montreal Blitz

For its part, the new Central Canadian Women’s Football League (LCCFF) set up its bases in Ontario and Quebec. In addition to the Montreal Blitz, the Ottawa Capital Rebels and the Quebec City Phoenix were part of the first draft which wrapped up its initial season in mid-June. Expansion projects are floating in the air for next year.

As the leaders of the league also gave themselves the mandate to develop players in the first place, the LCCFF began its activities in a formative framework. Among other things, the matches opposed two teams of 9 footballers on a field covering 50 yards.

Not necessarily ideal for those aspiring to perform nationally right now. For lack of options at their disposal, they say they are happy to have the opportunity to simply play.

You have to see this season as the beginning. It’s difficult to play at international level and then come back to nine players. But I can say that my daughter will play in a league, it’s a long term goal. »

A quote from Ophelia Poisson-Vecchio, linebacker for the Canadian women’s soccer team
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