CANADA AVENGES POOL-PLAY LOSS TO USA AND EARNS FIRST WORLD CUP TICKET IN 28 YEARS
One goal off the stick of Amanda Woodcroft in the 15th minute of the game was all the difference.
Three-quarters of hockey later, sticks were being tossed in celebration, athletes and coaches were embracing and tears of joy streamed down the Canadian faces. Canada has booked their ticket to the 2022 World Cup, ending a 28-year World Cup drought for the program.
The game had every ounce of drama in the lead-up. USA had defeated Canada last week in the group stage. The two teams are ranked 13th and 15th. One team advances to the World Cup, the other goes home. The stage was set.
The first quarter featured a flurry of Canadian circle entries and PCs with little push back from the American side. With only 15 seconds left on the clock, Amanda Woodcroft banged in a loose ball off a corner, making the game 1-0. For Woodcroft, every goal is a team effort.
“Someone has to put it in, and I was the one in the right spot at that time,” she said in an emotional post-game interview. “It’s a total team effort and I’m so proud of the team. We worked so hard today.”
Canada defeats USA in a dramatic qualification match at the 2022 Pan American Cup.
For Canadian fans, the rest of the game felt like it took three hours. After a scoreless second and third quarter, USA ramped the pressure up in the fourth. Wave after wave of American attack descended on the Canadian net. Rowan Harris, Canada’s goalkeeper backstopped a gritty Canadian defence that defended multiple late penalty corners. Harris comments post-game were entirely about the group in front of her.
“I’m just so proud of this group. It’s an unbelievable feeling,” she said. “The way we were able to all pull together; we’ll hold onto that feeling going forward. I’m so excited [for the World Cup].”
The win is a historic moment for this program. Many of the athletes on this team weren’t alive the last time a Women’s National Team qualified for the World Cup. The journey this team has been over the past decade has set the team up for this moment. After heartbreak three years ago in Dublin, this match was an exorcism for the ages.
Team Captain Natalie Sourisseau gave a tearful post-game interview, displaying her overwhelming pride and love for the team.
“It feels amazing to qualify, something a Canadian team hasn’t done in 28 years,” she said. “I have so many feelings right now. This team has been through so much, I’m just so proud of this team.”
The gritty, determined performance today had an heir of pride. Players played until the very last moment, defending the Canadian net. This team has put in an immense amount of work for this moment and it’s finally being realised. The World Cup will take place in July in the Netherlands and Spain. Sara McManus, a team leader and defensive stalwart, said, the work starts tomorrow.
“I think we’re all overwhelmed right now,” she said. “We’re going to take tonight to celebrate and just get back to work. We’re excited to train and prepare for the World Cup.”