England got an injury-time header from Ellen White, giving the home side a 1-0 win over Canada in a friendly in Rotherham.
But, troubling for followers of the Canadian women’s program, is that this scoreline clearly flattered the visitors. It used to be that a match against the English was pretty well in the territory of “automatic win” for Canada. But the English beat the Canadians in the Cyprus Cup final and dominated Sunday’s friendly. That’s right — dominated. Sure, the English left it late, but the truth is that the English bossed the match by a wide margin. And, if not for the heroics of Canadian Erin McLeod and some help from the woodwork, the score would have (deservedly) been far more severe.
Now, before we smack a bunch of red warning buttons, some context: Canadian coach John Herdman is in the midst of teaching his team a new way to play, a passing game that, like fruit on the vine, needs time to mature. The maturation date for the Canadian new system is 2015 — when we host the Women’s World Cup.
And, the English side is an older, experienced team that’s played together for years. And, in a telephone conference held before the Canadian team left to play its friendlies in France and England, Herdman warned that the English side isn’t working in young players — and has yet to show it has a new generation of footballers who can pick up from the likes of veterans White and Rachel Yankey.
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