After a brief hiatus with our Women’s World Cup picks, we’re back it for the second round of group stage matches with a big weekend showdown between Canada and New Zealand.
Both of these teams have high hopes of advancing in this competition, but enter this match likely feeling a little sour about their opening fixtures last week.
For the Canadians, they had to really battle to do away with a pesky Cameroon squad. The African nation made them work for every pass and battled on every ball. Canada’s steady defense was predictably solid, but their ability to break through and create consistently dangerous scoring opportunities was disappointing. They’ll surely be looking for a more clinical offensive outing against New Zealand.
For that New Zealand group, they enter this match really feeling like they should’ve escaped a powerful Dutch side with at least a point. A lucky bounce later, and the Kiwis surrendered a late marker that saw them fall 1-nil to one of the tournament favourites. It was an impressive defensive performance, and it will be interesting to see if New Zealand can adopt that strategy once more to try and hold off an equally imposing Canadian group.
This match could potentially turn Group E on its head, as Canada is both capable of scoring a few goals, but also succumbing to a pesky underdog group in New Zealand. It should make for a great matchup. To hear more about the match tactics and a betting prediction for Canada/New Zealand, read on below for a detailed breakdown.
Canada vs. New Zealand Betting Odds:
New Zealand (+560)
Over 2 (-127)
Under 2 (+107)
Canada -1 (-126)
New Zealand +1 (+106)
Canada vs. New Zealand Pick:
The youth of Canada didn’t really shine through in their first match vs. Cameroon, but after the game many of their talented players attributed that to nerves. Expect the nerves to have since subsided for game two vs. New Zealand, and expect a dominating outing from the red and white.
Canada saw 75% of the ball in their first match, and expect more of the same against a New Zealand team that will just try to defend and clear for a full 90 minutes. That said, that late goal vs. the Netherlands might change the way the Kiwis come out and play on Saturday afternoon. They likely feel as if they need a result and might have no choice but to open things up. This is where the Canadians can and will take advantage. Expect Canada to be overwhelming in the midfield. They’re quicker and more skilled on the ball, and the midfield tandem of Ashley Lawrence and Janine Beckie should dominate anybody New Zealand puts onto the pitch. Up front, Christine Sinclair has the size and physicality required to bully off some big New Zealand defenders – and after Canada gets a first-half goal, New Zealand will need to make a more purposeful go of things.
Once the Kiwis open things up, expect Canada to just dominate in transition. New Zealand lacks pace across the pitch, and Canada should be able to exploit this down the flanks, before sending in dangerous balls to the head of Christine Sinclair. The Kiwis do boast a solid goaltender in Erin Nayler, but the sheer amount of chances she is going to face on Saturday will likely be overwhelming. Expect a Canadian performance we’ve become used to, as they re-establish themselves as World Cup title contenders.