Canada eliminated at Women's World Cup
Canada's run at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany is over before it even had a chance to get started.
The Canadian team suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss to France in Bochum on Thursday and was officially eliminated after Germany beat Nigeria 1-0 in Frankfurt later in the day.
Those pair of score lines resulted in Canada being booted from the tournament with one game remaining in the first round — the ultimate indignity. The Canadians play the Nigerians, who were also eliminated from contention, on July 5 in Dresden (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2:30 p.m. ET) in a meaningless match.
Both France and Germany have advanced to the quarter-finals from Group A.
The early and unexpected exit is a bitter pill to swallow for a Canadian side that arrived in Germany with great confidence and expectations that it could at least qualify for the knockout round and possibly make it to the semifinals like it did in 2003.
Instead, Canada bowed out in disgrace, eliminated in the first round for the fourth time in five World Cup appearances.
Will the real Team Canada please step forward?
What happened to the squad that played a possession-style game preached by coach Carolina Morace? What happened to the side that attacked with verve and creativity, a tactical approach that saw the Canadians enter this tournament with an impressive 10-1-2 record in 2011?
Here's what the Twitterverse had to say about Canada's loss:
@nichhall: Well that was a depressing way to get the Canada Day festivities underway. Women should hold their heads high tho, take care of Nigeria #WWC
@Othemts: Harsh loss for #Canada in the #WWC. I guess there's some consolation that they'll be hosts in 2015.
@AEVANS37: Lets face it. Soccer just is not #Canada's sport. Never has been, never will be. The unfortunate truth. #FIFA #WWC
@DAJButler: As much as that was an accident, once they went down 3-0 there was no reason to keeps Christine Sinclair in the game.
@alexandrasia: oh dear, big 4-0 win by france. looks like i may have to root for the usa instead of canada at the #wwc
@ErinDurant42: Wow Carolina Morace calls out Soccer in Canada and says the girls need a league to play in. I agree. You go Carolina #fwwc
@noelcarbs: McLeod was inspiring, Sinclair was courageous & Matheson gave 'er like a champ. France was good but the rest of the #CANwnt was MIA.
@TheComicDude: I hope we use this as an opportunity to make improvements & not use the broken nose as an excuse because that's not why we lost #WWC
@celinaemcee: Media is going to blame this on a bunch of non-factors. This is a SYSTEMIC issue. #CanWNT #WWC
Sadly, that team was nowhere to be found in Bochum. In its place was one that bore a striking resemblance to the dump-and-chase side that competed under previous coach Even Pellerud.
Instead of caressing the ball with care and looking to work it on the ground with smart passing, the Canadian players reverted to the long ball, hoofing it aimlessly up field with all the fleeting desperation like the route-one merchants they were under Pellerud.
Canada entered the match ranked sixth in the world, one spot ahead of the French. On this day, however, the Canadians looked like lightweights, and not the tournament dark horses they were portrayed as by many in the Canadian media.
Out-thought, out-fought and out-classed by a better French team over 90 minutes — that about it sums it up.
One can't help but feel sorry for Christine Sinclair, the Canadian captain who played with a protective mask after breaking her nose in the Germany game.
Starved of quality midfield service, the star forward had to feast on crumbs and never really imposed herself on the match. The will and spirit was there from Sinclair but not the supporting play of her teammates.
Thiney's second goal put the French up 2-0 after 60 minutes, and the Canadians could hardly have any complaints. Outplayed and outmuscled by the French, Sinclair and her cohorts looked flat and deserved the hiding they received.
Camille Abily's free header off a corner kick six minutes later gave the French a 3-0 lead, and Elodie Thomis compounded Canada's misery even further with a goal in the 83rd minute.
The winning goal
France was the better side in the opening 15 minutes, but thanks to the sublime ball-winning skills of Sophie Schmidt, Canada kept the French off the score sheet. Then Thiney nodded home the ball in the 24th minute to break Canadian hearts.
The turning point
Thiney's first goal turned the tide in France's favour. Canada never recovered.
Goal of the match
Canadian defender Emily Zurrer took too much time on the ball on the edge of the box and lost possession, and Thiney curled a gorgeous shot past McLeod into the far corner of the net in the 60th minute.
Save of the match
Minutes after being beaten by Thiney, McLeod made a great save on a Louisa Necib, tipping the French midfielder's long-range effort over the crossbar
Player of the match
Gaetane Thiney. The French star took both of her goals with skilful aplomb.
The Canadian perspective
"There were too many individual mistakes and on the other end we couldn't finish. When you let in that many goals and you can't finish your chances you're not going to win the game," midfielder Diana Matheson told CBC Sports after the match.