Rest in Peace, Canada and other Brave World Cup Souls


Rest in Peace, Brave World Cup Souls

by Kara McDermott

Group play has finally concluded in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Among the exaltations of the winners who will go on to the next stage, let us take a moment to remember the hearts of the ones they had to trample on to get there, because being the worst of the best is still an honor in some regards.

Canada’s abysmal showing I think took some viewers off guard. Were they going to advance out of Group A with Germany and France in the mix? No way, but I don’t think we were expecting them to have the worst showing of any team in the tournament.

They lost all their games and had the worst goal differential with seven goals against and only one goal scored when they played Germany in their first game. But at least they always have their hockey team (too soon?).

New Zealand finished at the bottom of Group B below Mexico, which must have stung. But they had the comeback of the tournament when they scored in the 90th and again in stoppage time to tie Mexico in their consolation match. They also had the best goal differential of all the teams that did not advance, scoring four and only having six against. Take your victories where you can get them.

Colombia was the little team that no one expected could do much. Qualifying for the tournament at all and with such a young team was a great achievement in and of itself. They did pull out a point by tying against Korea in the last match and their goalie was a bright spot in their loss to the US.

Speaking of Korea, they were sadly the tournament’s greatest underachiever. They came in as runners-up in the Asian Cup last year behind Australia and with their youth and quickness, were actually expected to be in a dogfight with Sweden for an advancement position. But after a strong first half against the US in their first match, they fell apart and couldn’t score even a single goal in group play.

Norway is a little easier to empathize with. Even though they were our great rivals in the 1990s, neither they or our US side have been able reclaim that dominance since. They kept it interesting all the way to the end.

Finally, it’s a little hard to feel sorry for Equatorial Guinea. You want to because they were one of only two teams to qualify from Africa and are from a tiny spot of land on that vast continent. But in their three losses they managed to tally more cards than any other team (six) and had 41 fouls. Add in Bruna’s hand ball debacle and it’s hard to remember Anonma’s two brilliant goals against Australia.

These teams will exit the World Cup to go back to work on their practice fields. Or, if they are like other writers, they will think of a way to leave work early to watch the remaining games in a bar with retirees.

Kara McDermott also writes for her blog, Waving the Rave.


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1 Comment

  1. Of course, if it’s hard to feel sorry for Equatorial Guinea, then obviously people are happy enough that Nigeria are out that they don’t even get a mention. Of course, there’s a reason for that. Coach that makes homophobic comments and gets hammered by FIFA, check (probably the only thing they’ve done in a while that I actually agree with). Rough play against an openly tolerant Germany, including what should easily have been a red card in slamming their keeper hard, check. I won’t get into if that was supposed to be a statement hit or not, and I’m sure that controversy has been covered elsewhere, but hopefully the results and the controversy will make Nigeria can their coach and find someone who isn’t as close-minded.