When former Canadian national team player and current TSN pundit Kaylyn Kyle criticized the USWNT for their goal celebrations during the historic 13-0 win over Thailand by saying, “I think, as a Canadian, we would just never ever think about doing something like that,” it raised the question of whether it were true that a Canadian national team would behave more nobly should they find themselves on the winning side of a similarly lopsided match in the Women’s World Cup. Sadly for Canadians, Sweden bounced their team from the tournament in the round of 16 today with a 1-0 win, denying the nation its opportunity to show off its amazing sportsmanship.
As with so many Canadian endeavors, today’s match was incredibly boring. Good chances on either side were few and far between. The game’s sole goal was kind of cool, as it came from a ruthlessly direct Swedish counterattack. The one true highlight of the match, though, was the spectacular save Sweden’s keeper Hedvig Lindahl made on a Janine Beckie penalty kick that would’ve leveled the score:
Just look at the stretch on this:
That penalty attempt was Canada’s lone shot on target for the match. Canada’s 11 total shots were three more than Sweden’s, and two fewer goals than the super-rude Americans scored in that beatdown of Thailand.
In the aftermath of the U.S.-Thailand match, Kyle also said, “We’ve played against the Americans before, where you have a player of Christine Sinclair scoring three goals and she would never ever think of counting how many goals she has on one hand.” (Presumably Kyle was referencing Sinclair’s hat trick in the 2012 Olympic semifinal against the USWNT. The U.S. won that memorable match, 4-3, and went on to win the tournament.) Sinclair needed no hands to count how many goals she scored against Sweden, and would only need a single finger to indicate her goal tally for the entire World Cup.
Though the national team wasn’t able to back up the sanctimonious words of its domestic talking heads, Canada shouldn’t feel too bad about when and how they bowed out. They have only ever won two World Cup knockout-round matches in their entire history, so it’s not like getting ousted in the round of 16 is some big national shame.
Rest assured, if by some seismic fluke Canada one day do luck upon a noteworthy feat of success, we feel exceedingly confident that their players would indeed react with the grace, humility, and dignity that those TSN pundits spoke about. It’s just that it’ll take at least four more years for Canada to have anything to actually celebrate in the first place.