Canada underwhelms in scoreless draw with New Zealand at Women’s World Cup

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EDMONTON, Alberta – Canada and New Zealand played a fast-paced match but ended in a 0-0 draw on a slick surface at Commonwealth Stadium on Thursday.

The match had to be halted four minutes in as rain poured down and thunder and lighting were heard and seen in the distance. The crowd of 36,544 spectators left disappointed after the scoreless draw, but Canada still sit atop Group A at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

New Zealand Amber Hearn hit the crossbar on a New Zealand penalty in the 33rd minute, and Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt also found the bar in the second half. Both goalkeepers — Erin McLeod and Erin Nayler — came up big for their teams.

“We kind of knew New Zealand was going to come out with a high press and it was going to be kind of a very chaotic game,” McLeod said. “I think considering that, we tried to keep our calm as much as we could. We tried to play around as much as we could and I think we did pretty well. We didn’t build up as much as normal out of the back. Mostly because that’s one of their strategies, to take advantage of that. I thought we varied it up, I thought we had more final acts than we’ve had in the previous game. Now we just have to start putting them away.”

Canada now sit at the top of Group A with 4 points, followed by China and the Netherlands with 3 poiints. New Zealand have 1 point.

Canada coach John Herdman, who managed New Zealand from 2006-2011, said prior to the match that Canada is a better team than New Zealand.

[ MORE: Complete coverage of 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup ]

“I think regardless of what he says, you want to stick it to him anyway,” New Zealand captain Abby Erceg said. “Anytime you have an old coach going to a different team you just want to prove a point. Like I said, I think it was a fair result today. Obviously we’re out to win and we just couldn’t make it happen. We’ll have to wait until next time.”

Herdman was pleased with how his team performed. The defense for Canada was solid. Once again, scoring goals is something Canada can’t seem to do. For Herdman, their are more positive signs and it’s not all doom and gloom for Canada.

“I’m not going to protect the team, but the stats don’t lie,” Herdman said. “That was a decent performance from Canada. Don’t underestimate the opposition in our group. The women’s game has moved in a big way. You watch China today, completely dominate the Netherlands. The gaps aren’t the same that they use to be. We scouted New Zealand and Wilkinson didn’t get in that pocket. She didn’t score tonight, she got substituted. We dealt with that. The direct play, we knew it was coming. The free kicks and the corners, that’s what we had to deal with. I thought we defended resolutely tonight. We’ve only conceded three shots on target in two games. Two clean sheets. If our front five can start finding the back of the net, this Canada team is going to be decent.”

Coming out of the weather delay, New Zealand looked to be the sharper team. A Kadeisha Buchanan foul earned the Football Ferns a dangerous free kick in the 11th minute. Hearn was able to connect and send a dangerous header on goal, but Erin McLeod did well to push the ball over the net for a New Zealand corner. The Kiwis also had a free kick that threatened Canada.

Canada had a brilliant opportunity to open the scoring with a quick transition and teamwork. Melissa Tancredi fed Sophie Schmidt, who sent a cross into the New Zealand box. Jonelle Filigno forced Erin Nayler to come up with a diving save. Moments later Nayler came up huge and denied Sinclair after Ashley Lawrence sent the skipper in 1-v-1.

“It was a physical battle out there,” Sinclair said. “I thought that we created a lot of chances and we couldn’t put one away. I think we gave them a few too many chances in terms of set plays. We knew that was probably going to be the only way they were going to score against us. I think we were a little careless sometimes.”

A Buchanan turnover forced Allysha Chapman into a bad spot just past the half-hour mark. Chapman got a piece of Hannah Wilkinson inside the Canada box and referee Bibiana Steinhaus pointed to the spot without hesitation. Hearn stepped up and promptly fired the ball off the crossbar. Erin McLeod was beat, but the woodwork bailed out Canada and cost New Zealand a vital goal.

New Zealand controlled much of the opening 45 minutes and Tony Readings’ side was unlucky not to have found a goal in the final third. Canada weren’t able to get forward often enough and turned the ball over in the midfield, thus allowing New Zealand to get going on a counter-attack play.

Sinclair had her volley saved by Nayler and subsequently tipped off the crossbar after both teams returned for the second half. New Zealand also came close to scoring thanks to an attempt from Hearn that almost found the net.
Canada had a lot more possession, urgency and shape in the second half.

The crossbar challenge was on full display once again in the 70th minute, when Sophie Schmidt had her free kick strike the bar. Each side was getting desperate in search of a goal and the possibility of all three points. Herdman quickly used all of his substitutions in a span of 10 minutes. Kaylyn Kyle, Carmelina Moscato, and Adriana Leon entered the match for Filigno, Sesselmann, and Scott.

The trio of changes helped Canada create more offense despite not scoring. Tancredi came in off the left flank and had a tremendous opportunity to blast the ball past Nayler, but the New Zealand keeper was once again up for the task and stopped Tancredi point-blank.

Canada can win the group with a win over the Netherlands on Monday, but Canada hasn’t scored from open play this tournament. The hosts will have to do better in Montreal next week and beyond if they are going to become a serious contender to win the World Cup.

Canada Starting XI: Erin McLeod; Allysha Chapman, Lauren Sesselmann (Carmelina Moscato 67), Kadeisha Buchanan, Josee Belanger; Jonelle Filigno (Kaylyn Kyle 63), Desiree Scott (Adriana Leon 74), Ashley Lawrence, Melissa Tancredi; Sophie Schmidt, Christine Sinclair(C). 4-4-2.

New Zealand Starting XI: Erin Nayler; Ria Percival, Katie Duncan, Abby Erceg(C), Rebekah Stott, Ali Riley, Amber Hearn, Sarah Gregorius (Rosie White 79) , Betsy Hassett (Katie Bowen 77), Annalie Longo, Hannah Wilkinson (Jasmine Pereira 89). (4-3-3)

Premier League social media wrap: Brighton, teqball, remembering Tiote

Premier League social media
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Premier League sides are fully back in the flow of training with scheduled matches coming within a fortnight.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

So it’s no surprise that banter’s back, too.

That’s where we’ll start Friday, with Irish center back Shane Duffy making sure he’s keeping things light as Brighton and Hove Albion prepares to defend its Premier League place.

Duffy turned a sprinkler on his teammates at training, showing that, yes, your high school career has some things in common with Premier League footballers.

How about some skills as Manchester United gets ready for its return to the PL pitch?

Bruno Fernandes and Andreas Pereira tangled with Fred and Diogo Dalot in a match of Teqball.

You’ll have to watch to see who won.

There’s also a sad anniversary on this day.

It’s been three years since former Newcastle United wrecking ball Cheick Tiote passed away at age 30 after collapsing during a training session with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises, causing shock and grief around the Premier League.

His former teammates were remembering him on Friday, the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations winner was definitely beloved and will always be remembered for his incredible goal to cap off Newcastle’s 4-4 comeback draw with Arsenal.

We’ll start with Norwich City backstop Tim Krul, who spent time with Tiote at Newcastle.

Former Magpies wizard Yohan Cabaye pinned an old memorial to his Twitter wall.

 

Preview: Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha Berlin

Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha preview, how to watch
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Four Bundesliga teams are unbeaten in their last five matches and Hertha Berlin is the unlikeliest of the bunch.

They’ll tangle with Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday in the latest challenge of the Bruno Labaddia era in Berlin.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Labbadia is Hertha’s third manager of the season and Hertha has played a scrappy brand of football that has punched and counter-punched under his tutelage. That doesn’t mean they’ve failed to find finish, as Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic and Brazilian youngster Matheus Cunha have been potent.

Borussia Dortmund is a bigger ask, though Hertha made RB Leipzig make mistakes in a 2-2 tie.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Will it be able to get a result at the Westfalenstadion? Perhaps this is a bridge too far, because Dortmund’s shown an explosive offense and its defense has been strong far more often than not this season.

That said, Erling Haaland is just returning to fitness and has just one goal since the league’s restart from the coronavirus pause. Mats Hummels will miss with a yellow card suspension and Marco Reus still isn’t back.

Maybe American teen Giovanni Reyna will get prolonged run along with Jadon Sancho. We’ll see!

Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha Berlin, how to watch

  • TV Channels: FS2
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • Americans Abroad: Giovanni Reyna (Dortmund)
  • When: Saturday, June 6 – 12:30 p.m. ET: Dortmund v. Hertha

Sheffield United season restart preview

Sheffield United season restart preview
Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Sheffield United is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Blades when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Sheffield United has welcomed itself to the Premier League and put its feet up on the big boys’ tables while asking what’s for dinner. Blades sit seventh and will hope to continue a fairytale which has them on the precipice of the Europa League. Their fixture list in monstrous, especially at Bramall Lane, but Wilder’s proven capable of outwitting even the smartest of bosses for long periods of time. A name to remember is Simon Moore. The backup keeper and starter from Blades’ League One days could become vital should Manchester United defy expectation and pull Dean Henderson home from his loan upon its June 30 expiry.

[ MORE: Ranking every Southampton player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: Chris Wilder has flummoxed many a Premier League manager with his creative use of defenders in attack. United typically uses Jack O’Connell, John Egan and Chris Basham as a back-3 with Enda Stevens and George Baldock as the two wingbacks. Those players have accounted for six of United’s 18 PL assists this season. For more on the tactics, Wilder laid things out in entertaining fashion for Arlo White late last month.


Possible XI (3-5-2) 

—– Henderson* —–

— Basham — O’Connell — Egan —

— Baldock — Fleck —  Berge —– Norwood — Stevens—

—– McBurnie —– Mousset —–

The challenge here is fitting January signing Berge into the mix, as fellow central midfielders John Fleck, Oliver Norwood, and John Lundstram have been instrumental in this amazing season. Lundstram seems the most likely to cede his spot if someone will, which really says something about Berge’s immense talent. David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp have provided a lot up top, so McBurnie and Mousset will see plenty of time on the bench. And the biggest question of all is Henderson, who’s on loan from top seven rival Manchester United.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Sheffield United’s chances ]


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Spurs, Wolves, Chelsea, Everton
Away: Newcastle, Manchester United, Burnley, Leicester City, Southampton

Predicted finish: The Blades will get the chance to defend their home turf from not one, not two, not three, but four would-be European rivals (It’s a little generous to include Everton, but the talent is there). Throw in Leicester and Manchesteer United away, and there is a huge bridge to cross for Wilder’s men to keep their incredible season on the path toward unprecedented heights. It’s not just about keeping Spurs and Arsenal in the rear view mirror, as Blades meet the next four teams above their seventh-place footing.

Petersen’s header leads Freiburg past 10-man Gladbach

Freiburg v. Borussia Monchengladbach recap
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Nils Petersen’s second half goal led Freiburg to a huge 1-0 win over 10-man Borussia Monchengladbach at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Friday.

Freiburg keeps its Europa League hopes alive by moving onto 41 points, one behind sixth and seventh.

Gladbach fails in a bid to go third and remains fourth with 56 points, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen on goal differential.

A second yellow card to Plea was a double curse to Gladbach, who went down a man and now will miss a star forward against Bayern Munich.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Bayer’s Ramy Bensebaini utilized a slick backheel turn to nutmeg an opponent and send in a cross that was put out for a corner kick.

Freiburg keeper Alexander Schwolow made a tight-angle save on Alassane Plea just after the quarter-hour mark.

Gladbach saw a chance chalked off after two dangerous bids resulted in an offside deflection into the goal.

Florian Neuhaus came close to scoring again when Lars Stindl headed the penultimate move of a fine team play into the six, but he popped it over the frame.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Gladbach’s second half again settled into the Freiburg final third, but it was a home sub that paid dividends at the other end.

Petersen improved his club record for goals when he nodded Vincenzo Grifo’s free kick home in the 59th.

Stindl wasn’t too far from equalizing with a 17-yard shot at the hour mark, but Plea’s second yellow card damaged Gladbach’s hopes of a comeback.