Canada (0-0) vs. China (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday June 6, 2015, 4:10 PM (EDT)|
The Line: China +686 / Canada -194 -- Over/Under: 2.5
FOX Sports 1
China and Canada kick off the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Saturday afternoon.
China looks to make a strong statement this time around after missing the World Cup in 2011. China is a team that relies heavily on its stamina, intelligence and fundamentals, waiting for its opponent to make a mistake. China is going to rely on its quality defense to compete in this tournament, and Ying Li and Ma Jun will provide the offensive opportunities to find the net. Li has the ability to take over a game, as she proved in the Women's Asian Cup with six goals in five games. The concern for China this World Cup is its habit be passive and rely too much on the defensive end. China is also still a very young team (average age of 23 year’s old) that has little to no World Cup experience with its current roster.
Canada looks for a rare escape from the group stage, as it makes its sixth straight World Cup appearance. Canada is an experienced team led by Christine Sinclair, who has 153 goals for team Canada since 2000 and knows this may be her last real shot considering she’s 32 years old. Canada is a disciplined and physical team that relies on its leadership and experience to find a way. Canada’s downfall may be its lack of depth, as this team may just go as far as Sinclair carries it. Melissa Tancredi is the only other player on this Canadian team with more than 15 goals, and she’ll have to perform at a high level if the home team will take the trophy. Only one host country in Women’s FIFA World Cup has ever won the whole thing.
This is an interesting first match because I do think the depth of China could give a thin Canada team trouble. However, Canada should have strong fan support in this opening match and the experience added on should help.
I think China has a shot for the upset, but I just can't bring myself to pick against the home team with everything on the line. Canada will look to start off strong.