July 15, 2012
AUCKLAND – Football Ferns coach Tony Readings is confident his side’s “below par” 0-2 loss to Canada in an Olympic Games warm up in Switzerland on Sunday morning was a one-off as London 2012 draws closer.
While the Canadians, ranked seventh in the world, were favourites to beat 23rd ranked New Zealand at their Matchworld Women’s Cup match in Châtel-St-Denis, Readings was not happy with the quality of his team’s showing.
“Canada were the better team and deserved to win that game,” Readings acknowledged.
“It was a below par Football Ferns performance and nowhere near what we’re capable of.”
Turnovers in midfield lead to both goals with Diana Matheson finishing the first with a superb chip over Jenny Bindon in the 30th minute and Canadian captain Christine Sinclair netting her 136th international goal on the break just minutes into the second half.
New Zealand’s best chances both cannoned off the crossbar with Amber Hearn rattling the woodwork early in the first half and substitute Annalie Longo doing the same from a long range effort midway through the second.
Canada’s physical approach disrupted New Zealand with fullback Ali Riley falling victim to the worst challenges. She was caught by a two footed tackle from Sinclair in the first half then a nasty late Robyn Gayle challenge ended her afternoon and left coaching staff sweating over an ankle injury that will be reassessed in the morning.
The Ferns’ Group E opener against Great Britain on July 25 in Cardiff is the opening act of the London Olympics and Readings is confident the momentum that had been building with results against China and Australia can be restored.
“We’ll learn a lot from this and I’d rather do that now than at the Olympics.
“We know we have got a lot more in the tank and even though we weren’t at our best today we stayed with a very good Canadian team and only the woodwork stopped us going 1-0 up or getting back in the game at 2-1.
“We’ve been on a run of consistent performances against teams ranked higher than us so is a blip rather than the trend. The good thing is we play Colombia in a few days and have the chance to regain momentum.
New Zealand play Colombia on Wednesday morning (NZT) before travelling to London to enter the Olympic Village.
Matchworld Women’s Cup 2012
New Zealand 0
Canada 2 (Diana MATHESON 30’, Christine SINCLAIR 48’)
New Zealand: 1-Jenny BINDON (GK), 2-Ria PERCIVAL, 4-Katie HOYLE, 5-Abby ERCEG, 6-Rebecca SMITH (captain), 7-Ali RILEY (3-Anna GREEN 77’), 8-Hayley MOORWOOD (12-Betsy HASSETT 46’), 9-Amber HEARN, 10-Sarah GREGORIUS, 11-Kirsty YALLOP (16-Annalie LONGO 62’), 17-Hannah WILKINSON (13-Rosie WHITE 78’).
Substitutes not used: 14-Kristy HILL, 15-Rebekah STOTT, 18-Rebecca ROLLS (GK).
Coach: Tony READINGS