Football Ferns closes the gap with Canada


The Football Ferns were taught a lesson on what it takes to be on top as Canada continued their Olympic gold medal celebrations with back-to-back wins over the New Zealanders.

The Football Ferns were part of Canada’s Olympic Games Celebration Tour.

An inexperienced Football Ferns team couldn’t compete with the Canadiens in Montreal, losing 1-0 in their second and final game of the series on Wednesday.

Although the New Zealanders closed the gap on the scoreboard, they failed to beat the Olympic champions.

Ferns Football coach Jitka Klimková made three changes to the starting squad which lost 5-1 to Canada in the opener on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Anna Leat, who plays for West Ham in the Women’s Super League, came in goal for Erin Naylor, striker Jacqui Hand got her first start and Tokyo Olympian Gabi Rennie led the line during the 39 first few minutes before being replaced by Rosie White.

New Zealand attacked early, but it was Canada who found the back of the net first when Adriana Leon rebounded from a Leat save in the 16th minute.

Ria Percival tested the Canadian goalkeeper in the 25th minute with a long-range strike, but Stephanie Labbe managed to tip the ball over the bar and keep a clean sheet for the hosts.

Canada made massive changes early in the second half, while Klimková didn’t make his second substitution until the 69th minute, when Hand gave way to Hannah Blake to make her first appearance of the series. .

Leat nearly made a costly mistake 20 minutes from time when she came out of her box and the Canadiens nearly passed the ball over her and into the goal from long distance.

Canada reserve goalie Erin McLeod enjoyed a quiet second half, although New Zealand continued to push for the draw with more players looking forward to keep fresh legs challenging the Canadians in time added.

Ahead of Wednesday’s game, Klimková said mistakes happen in football and that she expects her team to make mistakes playing an attacking style that she wanted to implement during her tenure.

But Klimková will want her players to improve their accuracy against their next opponents in South Korea in November as she builds her squad ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup which will be co-hosted by New Zealand and the Australia.


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