My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Josee Belanger 52
Canada made four changes from the team that drew against the Netherlands. Lauren Sesselmann returned in place of Carmelina Moscato, Desiree Scott replaced Kaylyn Kyle in central midfield and Melissa Tancredi replaced Adriana Leon in the front three. The inclusion of Rhian Wilkinson, in for Jessie Fleming, meant Josee Belanger moved up front. Belanger, a striker normally, played at right-back in all three group games. Using the natural right-back Wilkinson was probably designed to prevent the threat of Switzerland’s width.
Switzerland named two changes from the team that had lost to Cameroon. The captain Caroline Abbe replaced Rahel Kiwic in defence, whilst Vanessa Bernauer replaced Fabienne Humm.
Canada started with real intensity, closing down the Switzerland players, put despite this it was the Europeans who created the first chance as Ramona Bachmann’s narrow-angled shot was saved by Erin McLeod.
There was a stoppage in play as Christine Sinclair caught Noelle Maritz with a late challenge, that looked even worse on the replay. The Canadian captain was booked, but on another day, she could have been sent off.
Switzerland created a superb chance that would sum up the game. Wonderful skill from Bachman saw her beat Desiree Scott down the right, her cross seemed to have set up Lara Dickenmann perfectly, but she somehow got her feet mixed up and the ball bounced harmlessly off her standing leg.
Then Canada nearly took a fluke lead through the best chance of the first half. Josee Belanger overhit her cross towards goal and Gaelle Thalmann got her fingers to it to divert the ball onto the left post.
Canada nearly scored early in the second half. McLeod launched a free-kick into the box, Melissa Tancredi headed the ball downwards to Sinclair, but Thalmann managed to intercept. ‘
Then Canada did take the lead. A cross was only partially cleared to Wilkinson. She played a lovely dink towards Sinclair who under strong pressure got enough on the ball to set up Belanger, who curled the ball into the bottom-left corner.
Switzerland had a half-chance soon after to equalise as Dickenmann broke into the box, but at the critical moment she hesitated, which allowed Allysha Chapman to make a recovering tackle.
Then Martina Moser’s clever free-kick picked out Ana Maria Crnogorcevic, but somehow she headed over.
But then Canada should have doubled their lead. Tancredi’s cross looked like it had picked out Sinclair, only to be denied by Thalmann’s diving punch. Chapman then launched the ball back into the box, Thalmann challenged with Sinclair, the ball fell to Belanger but she couldn’t get enough power on her shot and Caroline Abbe cleared the ball on the line with her chest.
In the 76th minute, Kaylyn Kyle replaced Ashley Lawrence to win her 100th cap for Canada.
Then Switzerland had their best chance. Bachmann squared the ball across the six-yard box towards Vanessa Bernauer at the far post, she turned and shot, but somehow was denied by McLeod’s outstanding save.
Canada had a couple more chances to make the tie secure. Sophie Schmidt picked out Jonelle Filigno who got her contact all wrong as the ball went wide. Then Belanger tried her luck again from just outside the box, but her shot went wide fo the far post.
In second half stoppage time, Switzerland won a corner. Everyone, including Thalmann was in the Canadian box. Dickenmann’s delivery was easily caught by McLeod, summing up her superb performance.
Erin McLeod – Canadna
Canada: (4-3-3) Erin McLeod, Rhian Wilkinson (Marie-Eve Nault 88), Kadeisha Buchanan, Lauren Sesselmann, Allysha Chapman, Ashley Lawrence (Kaylyn Kyle 76), Desiree Scott, Sophie Schmidt, Melissa Tancredi (Jonelle Filigno 69), Josee Belanger, Christine Sinclair (c).
Goal: Josee Belanger 52.
Booked: Christien Sinclair 13, Kadeisha Buchanan 74.
Switzerland: (4-4-2) Gaelle Thalmann, Noelle Maritz, Caroline Abbe (c), Lia Waelti, Selina Kuster (Vanessa Buerki 61), Ana Maria Crnogorcevic, Vanessa Bernauer, Martina Moser (Fabienne Humm 72), Rachel Rinast (Rahel Kiwci 80), Ramona Bachmann, Lara Dickenmann.
Booked: Selina Kuster 46.