Canada's youngsters mature beyond their years in World Cup opener
Canada's Sophie Schmidt jumps over a China player during FIFA Women''s World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Saturday June 5, 2015. (Perry Mah/Postmedia Network)
EDMONTON – Who would have figured in the first FIFA Women’s World Cup game that Canadian coach John Herdman would field five players who had zero experience.
Badeisha Buchanan. Ashley Lawrence. Jessie Fleming. Adriana Leon. Allysha Chapman.
“I don’t think of them as U-20 players. They’re senior players,” said Sophie Schmidt, Canada’s player of the game.
“When one of those players go in I’m expecting them to make a positive impact and add something,” she added. “I’m so proud of them. They did just that.”
Coach Herdman said it stands Canada well going forward with the kids getting a taste of it in a 1-0 win over China to open the tournament.
“I thought it was great to see the young players step up. Young Fleming just blended into the game well. That’s a 17-year-old kid playing in front of 53,000 people. When you are nil-all and pushing for a win, I thought she stepped up well. And young Leon as well. And lets five credit to someone like an Ashley Lawrence. She went through a full 90 minutes and was box to box all game and at times looked like she has a lot more to come.
“The youth movement was good today but we just don’t look at them like that.
“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. That’s the acceptance across this group of women.”
BBC BETTING A BILLION
BBC Sports projected a billion viewers worldwide for the FIFA Women’s World Cup that began in Edmonton Saturday in a report published on the British broadcaster’s website.
More than 400 million viewers tuned into the Women’s World Cup in Germany four years ago but the BBC reported that the billion viewer projection was based on FIFA’s hope that increased interest from broadcasters and a captive North American audience can more than double the previous audience totals.
FIFA announced earlier that the tournament is being broadcast in 187 territories.
Saturday’s opener involved a world feed featuring 22 cameras, including a helicopter camera, with the same set-up to be repeated for both the semi-final and bronze medal games in Edmonton, the other semi-final in Montreal and the final in Vancouver.
OTTAWA UP TODAY
It’s Germany-Ivory Coast and Norway-Thailand in Ottawa Sunday as the focus on the Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup now starts shifting from venue to venue.
Does Ottawa have a second straight sellout for the tournament on deck?
Sitting at about 18,000 going into game day, the Ottawa WWC sellout total is expected to be around 21,000.
Winnipeg has been in a sellout position (30,000) for some time for USA-Australia and Nigeria-Sweden Monday.
Another set of games Monday gets things going in Vancouver. It’ll be defending champion Japan versus Switzerland and Cameroon-Equador. And those games haven’t moved the dial in Vancouver where virtually no tickets have been sold in the upper deck in B.C. Place and plenty remain in the lower bowl.
Organizers are hoping for a “sellout” of now 13,000 downsized Moncton Stadium for France-England and Columbia-Mexico on Tuesday. At last check Moncton had just hit 10,000 for the doubleheader.
Also Tuesday, with the Montreal Grand Prix over, action begins in Olympic Stadium with Brazil-Korea and Spain-Costa Rica. No tickets are being sold in the upper deck and tickets are available in all but a dozen sections of the lower bowl.
Fewer than 10,000 tickets have been sold for that one. Yet for the following weekend, they’re at about 20,000 for Brazil-Spain. Obviously mid-week games are going to be a challenge to sell until school is out.
And how does Edmonton follow up on xx,xxx xxxx against John Herdman’s former team from New Zealand on Thursday?
Well, you can probably find one columnist out there ready to write that Edmonton was a one-game wonder.
It’s expected they’ll start the countdown Sunday with about 22,000-23,000 seats sold for the game where organizers hope to give the world a sellout look with a full lower bowl and East side upper deck. That would require selling about 15,000 more by game time.