Canada women’s team coach, John Herdman, is glad his team will not be playing the Super Falcons of Nigeria when they host the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
The Canadians will face China, New Zealand and the Netherlands in Group A, while Nigeria are drawn against USA, Sweden and Australia in Group D.
“When you look at the ‘group of death’ with USA, Sweden and Nigeria, you have to feel happy to have avoided a similar fate,” the former New Zealand coach told FIFA after the draw in Ottawa on Saturday.
Nigeria, USA and Sweden have competed in every edition of the Women’s World Cup. While Nigeria’s best performance was at the 1999 edition when they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Brazil, USA have won the World Cup twice. Sweden on the other finished second after losing the final to Germany in 2003.
Super Falcons striker, Asisat Oshoala, is optimistic Nigeria will have a better outing at next year’s edition, especially after winning the 2014 African Women’s Championship with a blend of young and experienced players.
“We can’t go to the World Cup to merely add to the numbers, but we’re going there to participate and to prove a point. I can’t say right away how far we’ll go at the World Cup, but I’m positive we won’t disappoint Nigerians when hostilities start in Canada. We have quality and experienced players in our midst who can turn things around,”
USA coach, Jill Ellis, also admitted the group is the toughest of the draw.
“It’s a good group to get us ready to play,” Ellis said. “Physically, it’s a demanding group, but we’ve got a lot of depth on our roaster and we’ll be able to manage against some good teams with some good challenges. It’s probably the toughest group. That’s historically been the path the USA has taken, and we’re obviously going to embrace it.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to play good teams to win it, and at some point you’re going to match up with quality opponents. We’ll be ready. We’ve got about five or six months to get prepared and ready to go.”
USA midfielder Tobin Heath added to her coach’s belief, “For me, 2011 was just a heartbreak. The whole motivation now is for that not to happen again and to win a World Cup. For every player in the group, they’re believing that (Canada 2015) is our World Cup. This is our World Cup to win and that’s how we’re preparing.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.