2015 Women’s World Cup Canada: Group A Preview

June 2, 2015

Amidst all of the storylines surrounding the governing body of world football, thank goodness for a tournament that can divert the attention back to the beautiful game.

We are under a week away from the beginning of the Women’s World Cup being hosted by Canada. While it isn’t going to garner quite the attention of last year’s men’s World Cup in Brazil, it will still pique the interest of the most influential country on the globe. The United States is still emerging as a world football power in the men’s game, but in the women’s, it sets the gold standard.

Thus why I’m exciting to preview the women’s tournament for the first time in the history of Around The Corn. Not many media outlets devote a lot of effort to the Women’s World Cup leading up to the tournament, so those looking for such coverage are largely out of luck. It’s my goal to change that.

This is the first of seven preview articles centered around the upcoming tournament. We’ll take a look at each group individually as well as the knockout rounds based on my group predictions.

Let’s start with Group A, which customarily features the host country.

Remember the Name

Christine Sinclair, Canada striker

Christine Sinclair may not be a household name in the U.S., but she’s third all-time on the international scoring list behind two women that do have that distinction: Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. With a particularly successful campaign in this year’s World Cup, Sinclair will pass Hamm, who is only five goals ahead of the Canadian currently.

Canada scored a single goal in 2011 World Cup, and for the team to survive a very balanced group Sinclair will need to put the ball into the back of the net more than once this tournament. Playing at home should serve as a boost; Sinclair has scored in 22 of 25 matches played on Canadian soil during her career.

Group Bully


If you’re part of the niche that diligently follows women’s world football, then you know just how far the Canadians have come in four years to be considered the bully of anything. Three games and three defeats was the line for this country in the 2011 World Cup, a poor showing for the 2010 CONCACAF champions. But since that time the squad has performed quite well in international competition, placing third in the 2012 Olympics and finishing runner-up in the Cyprus Cup three times in four years.

Group A is an extremely balanced pod, with the difference in world rank between the strongest (Canada) and weakest (New Zealand) team being only nine positions. Still, the Canadians are definitely one of the favorites to move on to the knockout round as the comfort of playing at home should override any lingering feeling of nervousness fairly quickly.

Group Underdog

New Zealand

The Football Ferns aren’t a soccer power, but they aren’t exactly a pushover in the women’s game, either. New Zealand is playing in its third consecutive Women’s World Cup and will be looking for its first ever trip to the knockout round. With an expanded field, this squad is no longer one of the supposed “easy” opponents.

Without a World Cup victory to boast, expect New Zealand to play with a passion unmatched by many other teams in the tournament. This squad is a potential trip up game for the likes of Canada and the Netherlands due to its affinity for defensive battles. A tie or two could make for a very interesting third match against China.

Games to Watch

Canada vs. China (June 6, 6:00 PM ET – FS1)

The first game of the tournament can often times be sloppy, but Canada will use the 2011 World Cup performance as motivation to come out focused.

Netherlands vs. Canada (June 15, 7:30 PM ET – FS1)

There’s a decent chance that the final game of Group A will decide its winner.

How They’ll Finish (picks in bold move on to the Knockout Stage)

1. Canada – 7 points

2. Netherlands – 5 points

3. China -4 points

4. New Zealand – 0 points

– K. Becks

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