Posted on August 2, 2012
COVENTRY, England — Canada women’s national coach John Herdman knows he could wind up being the most unpopular man in all of Great Britain if his soccer team prevails over the hosts in the Olympic soccer quarterfinals on Friday.
And that’s fine with him, because he could wind up being the toast of Canada if the Maple Leafs reach the semifinals and medal round for the first time.
“I will be very happy,” he said at a press conference the City of Coventry Stadium on Thursday. “If you are going to get beaten by anyone why not Great Britain? But I do not think that is going to happen. This team is on a great roll. I will be doing everything in my power to make sure Canada achieve their vision, which is to step onto the podium this Olympics.”
Most, if not the entire crowd at City of Coventry Stadium will be rooting for Great Britian. Canada and Herdman have some work to do to silence it.
And they will work hard to turn a noisy stadium into a meditation area.
“You will hear a pin drop when we do anything well,” Herdman said. “The way to do it is try to stifle their rhythm and frustrate them.”
But it won’t be easy against Great Britian, which finished the opening round with a perfect 3-0-0 mark.
“The British team have shown their resolve and how defensively capable they are,” Herdman said. “They have been together a long time under Hope Powell. They are very organised, very disciplined and don’t concede many goals.”
The Canadians will try to change that with the likes of strikers Christine Sinclair, who has 139 internationals, third on the all-time list, and Melissa Tancredi, who has a tournament-best four goals in three games.
“There is more to come from Sinclair,” Herdman said. “She has been working so hard to get others on the scoresheet but when big games come big players step up. For me she is the best centre forward in the world. She is a class act and her time might be tomorrow. Melissa is in the right place at the right time at the minute and could be that top scorer.”
For Great Britain, defender Stephanie Houghton has found the back of the net for a team-best three goals.
“She has turned into the Daniel Alves of women’s football,” Herdman said. “It is not often you get fullbacks who score consistently.
“She likes to attack on the inside and we have been working on how you handle that threat.”
Photo: Canada coach John Herdman: This team is on a great roll. I will be doing everything in my power to make sure Canada achieve their vision, which is to step onto the podium this Olympics.” Scott Bales/YCJ
Categories: Canada, North America, Olympic Qualifying, Women