By Trish Arab
It was the comeback of all comebacks yesterday when our Canadian National team came from behind to beat the Republic of Ireland in their first world cup appearance.
Ireland's Katie McCabe made it look like it would be a tough go for our girls with a stunning opening goal early in the match. Still, with leadership and poise from vets like Christine Sinclair, Team Canada proved they were too good to beat, even if they were playing against a home crowd of over 17,000 Irish supporters. It was Forward Adriana Leon of Mississauga, Ontario, who clinched the win for our girl. Leon, who plays for Manchester United W.F.C. in regular season, is a familiar face to many of the Irish National Team women and a regular foe.
The first half was a disaster, with Team Canada looking like they were already defeated, the deafening cheers of a pro-Irish crowd, and the monsoon-like weather beating outside the stadium. I don't know how Canadian Megan Connolly managed to tie it up going into the half. This was different from the team we are used to watching, and I turned the game off.
However, things changed in the second half, and I have only praise for Coach Bev Priestman, whose second-half substitutions showed how well she knows her team and how much foresight she had for these opponents. Calling in the cavalry, so to say, of vets like Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt brought a steady hand of confident play that was missing in the first half; maybe it was also a reminder at halftime that our girls are Olympic Champions and needed to start playing as such. Regardless, they were a completely different team in the second half, one that resembled more the style of play their fans are used to.
With four points from two games, seventh-ranked Canada now faces the home team Australia (ranked 10) in its final group game Monday in Melbourne at 6 am E.S.T., with the top spot in Group B at stake.
The top two in the group move on, and Canada only needs a draw to reach the round of 16.