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Lofty

Women's World Cup - June 24th 2019 - R16 Canada vs Sweden

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This result was reflective of what happened in the pre tourney matches. They had lots of difficulty scoring against any top 10 team or an organized European team. Decision making in the final third is poor, nobody could strike the ball with ferocity and nobody knew how to make the final cutting pass.

KHM compounded the problem by not bringing subs earlier and subbing the wrong type of players. His substitution pattern in the friendlies carried onto the WC even though the team looked the most dynamic in the friendlies when players like Leon, Hellstrom, Rose & Grosso came in. He brought in quite of bit young players but only stepped out of his comfort zone in playing Riviere. Sinclair, Beckie, Schmidt & Scott should have regularly subbed. 

The players also played like they did in the friendlies. The only one who stepped up another gear was Schmidt until against Sweden. Beckie was poor in all matches. Everybody else was average to subpar. 

Best case scenario for this team was to eke 1-0 wins. They don't bunker and can't anyway as Labbe isn't up to snuff to make 5-10 saves per match anyway. They can't counter like Sweden because KHM plays too many slow players and their decision-making is too slow anyway.

For the future, we'll have to hope Huitema fulfills her destiny and the younger pool of players develop as expected. KHM is on the chopping block. But I assume the CSA will keep him for Olympics.

 

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Doyle's post mortem in the Globe:

That missed-opportunity penalty will haunt the team and Canadian soccer for a while. She should never have been required or allowed to take it. A gifted player with the moving ball, swift of foot and good at finding space, she does not a have a powerful kick. 

Sinclair was invisible in this match and her barely there presence and lack of quickness defines what went wrong for Canada at the tournament.Yet coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller stuck with her, a cautious, keep-the-faith move and his team strategy was all caution, all the time. Taking that judicious approach into a knockout game, a win-or-go-home encounter, was suicidal.

Given the depth and breadth of youthful talent in this team, given the skills the players possess, Heiner-Moller’s team selection and tactics must be questioned. It’s bush league and it’s bungling. It should never have come to this – an early exit for a highly skilled team on the cusp of greatness. The coach created a mess from a massively capable, intelligent and proficient team that was ready for glory.

Behind a pay wall

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/article-blame-bungled-tactics-and-absurdly-cautious-coaching-for-canadas-exit/

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9 minutes ago, sting said:

Yes I know what Sinclair can do, that is why I said she could handle the pressure. I was replying to why Sinclair thought Beckie could do it as well.

As disappointing as the outcome was, I didn't have a problem with Beckie's penalty. She picked her spot, ran up and hit it. The Swedish keeper made a very good save. That happens. I have a much bigger issue with Cavalinni's penalty last night.  At least Beckie forced the keeper to make a save.

There are a lot of other issues in the women's team that need to be addressed before a missed penalty.  They're the same issues that they've had since at least the last olympics:

1. Christine Sinclair.  I know I'm going to be hammered for this one, but when the team has two attacking strategies - crosses from out wide and playing balls into the top of the box from 50 yards out - and both of those strategies are trying to get the ball to Sinclair, it becomes a major issue.  

There are 2 or three defenders on Sinclair, and every single ball is being forced in her direction. She is no longer fast enough to outrun the defenders, nor quick enough to create space for herself, nor able to out jump her defenders to attack the ball with her head. It is way to easy to defend.  Huitema should be that central forward.  If Sinclair is on the field, she should be in a withdrawn role in midfield where she has more time and space to accept the ball and bring her teammates into the play. She is smart enough to find those spaces running forward towards the box to get into the right spots.  She will score more goals following up on the play than being the focus of the offense.

2.  If you are going to play crosses in from wide areas, you need to have players that can provide quality crosses into the box. That did not happen in this tournament. Today especially, the Swedes packed the box and where first to every single cross. The wing play was too slow, and as noted in point 1, they were trying to force it to Sinclair. There is not enough speed in the build-up, nor is there enough speed in the middle of the field to beat the back line to crosses in.

3. Beckie Scott.  Scott is terrible with the ball on her foot regardless of TSN's panel's assertion that she has improved in that area. She should only be playing when Canada is trying to protect a lead. Quinn and Rosso are much better both on and off the ball. My preference would be to see Grosso out there spraying balls to her teammates. 

Going forward...get Sinclair the record in friendlies because Wambach should fade into history.

Leading up to 2020 olympics and the 2023 WC cycle:

                            Labbe

Riviere Buchanan Zadorsky Lawrence

                     Grosso/Quinn

         Fleming               Sinclair/Beckie

Prince/Rose                              Leon/Beckie

                            Huitema         

(Schmidt can still provide relief and starts in wingback and midfield)

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Agree with the thoughts of red card and Symp_Res above.  I've been perplexed that in KHM's tenure he rarely modifies his starting lineup.  This 11 may on paper be the best 11 but it DOES NOT FINISH.  We have more than a year of matches showing they can't score more than two goals against anyone in the top 20.  That forces a strategy of trying to win every match 1-0.  The defense is good but not that good.

When I coached, I remember my coach suggesting I try a few players at different positions.  I asked why as he played them at the position I was using them at.  He had played pro in Germany and said 'with your mix of players they'd be more impactful collectively at the new positions.'  While we were good my way, oh my goodness it was such an improvement his way.  I think that is where KHM is stuck.  Too risk aversive to try mixing up the lineup but he needs more commitment to finding offense.  This group does things well but not well enough. Lawrence needs to play midfield.  She will shoot from distance and carry the ball which brings a different element.

This tournament was like 2015 WWC.  I watched wondering how the heck Canada would score a goal to have a chance to win (i.e., it was painful).  They play a style that puts it all on Sinclair at least partly because Beckie and Prince are not scoring threats with all their shooting challenges.  Portland struggled to use her effectively a few years ago when Morgan was still on the team but Parsons has found a way to have Sinc still be a factor offensively.  KHM has not. It's not so much that she's old or slow, it's more she's not fitting in well with the dynamic of how they're playing but hard to say anyone else is doing better.  It's a losing strategy for an meaningful goal.

Further, I don't feel the young players are developing well.  Buchanan and Lawrence make unnecessary fouls that result in cards when they get beat.  Fleming can't seem to play well when the game is physical or high stress.  Beckie can't hit the broad side of a barn with her shot.  Prince and Rose seem to have limited smarts for where to go.  These are all elements that should be improving since these players all have great potential.  But improvement seems to have stopped since Herdman left.

I don't think they play enough friendlies and I'm not sure they are playing the right opponents.  It feels like they missed their best WWC opportunity.

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6 minutes ago, nstarsfan said:

Fleming can't seem to play well when the game is physical or high stress...But improvement seems to have stopped since Herdman left.

I purposely left Fleming out of the discussion. I will be honest and say that I am a huge Fleming fan and I think that she is the future of the national team. However, I recognize that US college is not the place for talent to develop. And that is what Fleming has always been...talent.

I have read people post about Fleming's lack of progress, or stagnatation (is that a word?) in her development over the last few years, and I have to agree with them. With short, compact seasons and lack of a professional environment the US college system, it is not designed to develop players like Fleming.

Having said that, I will never critisize her choice to go to school and get a degree, let alone on a scholarship in engineering. I respect her for that. I have no doubt that when she has her degree and enters into a professional soccer environment that she is going to develop into a great player and she will have her degree to fall back on when she's through with soccer.

As far as improvement of the team sans Herdman goes, my observations about style of play and Sinclair being the focus of their attack goes back to 2015.

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A number of players who needed to be key performers for us  lost too many 50-50 battles or simply had underwhelming to poor showings today.  The Swedes just seemed to want it more for most of the match in those individual match ups so kudos to them.  I'm very sad for our team:  they're obviously gutted.  It wasn't their day but remember:  Tokyo is only 13 months away and we have a better track record in Olympic competition.

 

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I was praying to have Beckie substituted out early as she was pathetic. Fleming still too raw to make an impact. Coach didn't believe in his bench or didn't have the brain to make subs. 

We all knew this team lacked scoring punch with Beckie, Sinclair, Prince. Why the coach didn't use Rose and Leon  more is a mystery. 

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15 hours ago, Lofty said:

352:

Schmidt ---------- Buchanan ---------- Zadorsky

Lawrence ---------------------------------------- Riviere

----------------------------- Scott -----------------------------

---------------- Fleming ---------- Sinclair -------------

---------------- Huitema ---------- Leon ----------------

That is all.

I was thinking who would be the third CB in a 3-5-2; I guess Schmidt is as good as any.  This would free up Lawrence and Riviere substantially.

Not sure Scott is a lock any more though.  And putting Rose and Beckie into the mix in the front 2 / mid 3 is likely also...

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, red card said:

Outside the paywall 🙂 At least some of it...

https://headtopics.com/ca/blame-bungled-tactics-and-absurdly-cautious-coaching-for-canada-s-exit-from-the-world-cup-6541625

Quote

Given the depth of skill on this team, coach Heiner-Moller’s choices must be questioned. Why did he decide to have Sinclair play full-length games? Why did he allow Beckie to take that penalty? It should never have come to this

It wasn’t exactly a shambles but it was a washout. Canada is out of the Women’s World Cup after losing by a single goal to Sweden. A team that seemed to promise so much just didn’t deliver.

And the postmortem must single out ludicrous decisionmaking by the coach. Don’t blame the players, blame the boss.

Sure, it was a game between evenly matched teams, both wary and both waiting to pounce on mistakes by the other, but for Canada, the stark summary is this: Its single clear chance at a goal came from a lucky break; a delayed videoassistant-referee (VAR) call for a penalty kick eventually awarded to Canada and then saved.

That missed-opportunity penalty will haunt the team and Canadian soccer for a while. It shouldn’t haunt Janine Beckie, who kicked it and had her shot stopped. She should never have been required or allowed to take it. A gifted player with the moving ball, swift of foot and good at finding space, she does not a have a powerful kick. She just doesn’t.

As soon as Beckie stood over the ball, most observers of this Canadian team knew it was no sure goal. She took a few steps back – too few – and kicked accurately and low, but Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, a wise veteran, saw it coming and saved with aplomb. Good keepers do that when the ball is low, where they can reach, and the shot lacks ferocity.

What was needed was a burst-the-back-of-the-net shot. Velocity that no keeper can stop. The kind that Christine Sinclair can still deliver. Sinclair should have taken that kick. Using Beckie for that penalty was asking a nimble kid to do what a strong experienced adult can do by routine.

 

Edited by Patrick
added more text from other sources

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1 hour ago, paul-collins said:

I was thinking who would be the third CB in a 3-5-2; I guess Schmidt is as good as any.  This would free up Lawrence and Riviere substantially.

Not sure Scott is a lock any more though.  And putting Rose and Beckie into the mix in the front 2 / mid 3 is likely also...

Agree with all that. I was really just proposing what I would have tried at this tournament to shake things up.

Schmidt is good in the tackle and her distribution has recently been excellent. Perhaps not the fastest player but with Buchanan beside her that doesn't really matter. She played on the right of the defence for most of the match against New Zealand (I think) and was more than solid, although of course NZ presented little threat. But I have confidence she would be a strong part of a back three.

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20 hours ago, Ansem said:

 

Screenshot_20190624-174606_Twitter.jpg

You know, this is interesting to me.  I get that things need to change, and that we all want to do better, but I think it's pretty immature to just blame the provinces for 'not getting on board.'  I suspect there is lots they can do for sure, but it is far to easy to turn around and say that since A didn't work, then B was certainly the solution.  

The fact is that if we play a particular style, that falls on the coach of that team.  If subordinate coaches don't play a particular style, then they may be hurting the program, but it still falls on the highest level coach to have their team playing how they want.  And that didn't happen.  The failure at this tournament rests solely on the coach and the team, and not with in some board room in Saskatchewan or Manitoba or wherever.  

Now, well after the fact these issues - whatever they may be - should definitely get addressed but I refuse to say that political strife caused us to play poorly and lose as we did.  That's the coach.  That's the players. 

And you know, JDV has been in his role for some time and if nothing has changed then maybe people need to start questioning his ability to make that happen.  Is it not literally his job to ensure that players are developed appropriately?

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Beyond deferring the penalty kick to Beckie by Sinclair, compounding the dumbness is that Beckie takes penalty kicks the same way all the time. They just played Sweden in April and went to penalties. 

 

Beckie does not change her penalty routine, something the Swedes clearly remembered.

“I’m not one that changes where I go. I’m confident in my penalty. I thought about it on the spot but yeah she made a (not really if she knew where it is going) fantastic save.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/article-canadas-disappointing-world-cup-exit-shows-just-how-badly-well-miss/

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On ‎6‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 1:31 PM, toontownman said:

Absolute typical Sweden. Create nothing and grind out a win from a breakaway or set piece. 

But off to the semis, where I hoped that we would be.

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