They have history between them, but mostly in winter sports like curling, ice hockey or skiing. Sweden vs Canada will be a particularly interesting clash in Paris, because it brings to the grass a rivalry that is big on ice.
The Swedes lost 2-0 to the top-ranked Americans on Thursday to decide the Group F winner. Canada got a wake-up call, paying for a slow start and some defensive lapses with a 2-1 loss to the European champion Netherlands in their final group stage game.
“I know if we play to our best, we can beat everyone and that includes anyone who we may face in the next rounds,” said Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Canada’s Head Coach. “We were trying to win this match because that is what we do and we do very well. We need to learn from this game, shift quickly and focus on the next task. We are only looking forward.”
Forward Christine Sinclair, the 36-year-old from Burnaby, is now three goals from surpassing Abby Wambach’s world record of 184. The goal she scored against Netherlands, in Sinclair’s 285th outing for Canada, came 7,037 days after she opened her account for the national team; on March 14, 2000, in a 2-1 loss to Norway at the Algarve Cup.
On Twelve’s leader board, she has the second best performance between the two sides. With 5,802 points of good offensive actions, shots and some missed chances. She is really dangerous inside the six yard box.
But we cannot ignore the Swedish rockstar. Kosovare Asslani is a two-time player of the match at this World Cup, with 7,391 points scored, and is the player most beloved by the fans. She can make the difference for Sweden in a tight match.
Sweden vs Canada: A little look at tactics
Sweden’s formation is likely to be a 3-5-2 or a 4-2-3-1. During the defensive phase, it will transition into a 5-4-1. This mid-block will look to make the most of the lack of numbers in Canada’s midfield.
When the Canadians look to play in a compact way with the central defenders pushing the defensive line up, Sweden can easily create situations in their favour. This will be possible due to their midfield four carrying numerical superiority.
The Canadian team mostly plays with a 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, or a more defensively solid 3-1-4-2 formation. When playing with a back four, Buchanan and Zardosky make up a solid centre-back pairing. The duo are usually shouldered by Chapman and Lawrence as the fullbacks with Beckie and Fleming as wingbacks or wingers.
Defensive midfielder Sophie Schmidt leads on defensive actions with 2,197 points, basically because of ball recoveries in the central area of the pitch. Sweden’s captain, Caroline Seger, is also important in the same function. It will be nice to watch both of these great players dictating the timing of the match.
It’s not a winter tournament, but Sweden and Canada will catch fire for sure, with tactical variations and good individual performance from both teams. The North Americans are slight favourites, but the Swedes are used to this kind of challenge. The winner will face Germany in a hopeless quarter final. So this is the match of their lives!