Home Women's Soccer Olympics Herdman and Canadian women’s team working out the final details ahead of Olympics

Herdman and Canadian women’s team working out the final details ahead of Olympics

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With each friendly the Canadian women’s team plays ahead of the opening of the London Olympics, coach John Herdman has attached a goal.

The Canadian boss has scouted the top-tier countries. He’s familiar with the style that they play. And he wants the Canadian women to be ready for the differing playing styles that they’ll face. Some of their opponents will press high up the field. Others will drop off defensively. And some will choose to man-mark.

“We create some technical blueprints in each game,” Herdman said during a conference call with media on Wednesday.

For example, in an upcoming friendly tournament, Canada will face New Zealand and Brazil. The Brazilians like to play a man-marking scheme, which is close to what the South Africans — who Canada will face in the group stage of the Olympic women’s soccer tournament — like to employ.

Now that the team is in the Swiss Alps, in the final stages of preparations for the Games, Herdman and his charges are dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s.

That preparation got underway Monday, when Canada beat Colombia 1-0 on a Christine Sinclair goal. Canada beat Colombia 2-1 in the semifinals of the 2011 Pan Am Games, so the layperson would think that the gap between the South Americans and Big Red isn’t that great. But Herdman allowed a little frustration to escape over his team’s performance.

“I don’t think they really troubled us from an attacking perspective,” he said, adding that keeper Erin McLeod had very little to do.

He said Canada was comfortable through the first half; in the second, Colombia brought four players forward, forcing Canada into more of a direct style.

“We were probably our own worst enemy,” said Herdman. “But the game was never at risk.”

Herdman said Canada hasn’t beaten a top-tier women’s side since 2003, when Big Red beat China (the other Big Red?) at the Women’s World Cup. And Herdman points to the leadership gap on the team.

“They never had a proper leadership structure,” said Herdman.

“The girls have the character and competence to be in those positions.”

So, veteran players are being asked to do more, to be more vocal, to be part of the process. Players are being given more responsibilities, and are asked to be examples for their teammates.

And, he’ll need a positive attitude if Canada wants to get to the podium. The team has yet to prove it can beat an elite team like the U.S. or Japan. With Sweden and Japan in its round robin group, the Olympics would make a fine start.

“Every single player has to have a personal best,” said Herdman.


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