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Sinclair and Lawrence seeking to inspire Canada

FIFA WWC: Canada vs Switzerland live: Will Christine Sinclair & Ashley Lawrence shine?

June 21, 2015 By Michelle Bonsu
As Canada prepare to take on an ambitious Switzerland, will veteran Christine Sinclair and youngster Ashley Lawrence be the key for the hosts?

As Canada prepare to take on Switzerland for a spot in the quarter-finals, there is plenty of food for thought on the table for the 2015 Women's World Cup hosts. For starters, Canada only scored two goals en route to securing their spot. Only the Netherlands, who are making their first ever appearance netted the exact same amount en route to finishing third in Group A.

Simply put, John Herdman's squad have not impressed on their home turf. It took a late penalty from Christine Sinclair to finally put the game to bed against China in their opening match. They were then held to a dull 0-0 draw with New Zealand and concluded their group stage games by again drawing with the Netherlands.

Whilst it was a moment to savor for young midfielder Ashley Lawrence as she scored her first-ever World Cup goal early in the first half, Canada's hopes of securing a second win were dashed as Holland snatched a point courtesy of a goal from experienced winger Kirsten van de Ven three minutes from the end of regulation time.

Midfielder Ashley Lawrence celebrates her debut World Cup goal against Holland and has been tipped to be a star for the future

It is perhaps no coincidence that the two goals that have led Canada into the round of 16 have come courtesy of the veteran Sinclair, who is her nation's all-time top goal-scorer and the ambitious starlet Lawrence. And Herdman was, not surprisingly, full of praise for Lawrence, who came raring out of the gates from the opening whistle and provided an offensive threat that the team needed due to Sinclair being shackled throughout by the Netherlands' back line.

"In front of this kind of atmosphere, you sink or swim and our young players are swimming. It’s wonderful to see. Lawrence was lighting it up," he noted following the game, despite seeing his squad drop two points.

Heading into that game, Canada were desperate to make amends after a frustrating gridlock against New Zealand and finally got their first goal from open play through the energetic and eager Ashley Lawrence. She will now hope to have a similar impact for her team as they take on Switzerland. Despite the Swiss making only their first appearance, the new girls on the block have had a fairly solid campaign. A slim loss to Japan - the reigning World Cup winners - was followed by a 10-1 hammering of Ecuador, but they then slipped up again by falling 2-1 to Cameroon.

Whilst their stats have been definitely padded by that result against Ecuador, who were also making their debut at a World Cup, no one can dispute the talent of players like Fabienne Humm and Ramona Bachman, who have scored three goals so far. Meanwhile, Sinclair, like fellow women's football major stars Marta and Abby Wambach, has only netted once and will be feeling the pressure to finally step up and deliver. Her last World Cup ended in frustration and tears after she was unable to inspire her team, despite netting their only goal following suffering a broken nose.

Of course, Switzerland, just as the Netherlands and New Zealand before them will have a plan to stop Canada's talismanic striker. This is where Herdman will hope others, like his young star Lawrence will again prove to be the clutch player for the squad. And if her performance against Holland was anything to go by, Lawrence, despite her young age, appears ready and eager to take that burden on her shoulders as Canada's ladies hope to take one step closer to being on the pitch for the final on July 5th in Vancouver.

It obviously will not be easy. Should they win, they will then have to take on either Norway or England, and a battle against Germany - the tournament favourites - will be definitely on the horizon. However, should several key players - both young and veteran - shine this evening, who knows what could happen in a game best known for making the unexpected the expected?

 

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