No time for fun as Canada focused on World Cup 'summit'

Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:33pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canadian soccer fans may be enjoying the ride but for the players, the grind of the Women's World Cup is no fun and the team is still approaching the "death zone," head coach John Herdman said on Wednesday.

Another 50,000-plus crowd will pack into B.C. Place on Saturday ready to party when Canada play England for a spot in the semi-finals but it will be all business for Herdman's crew.

"You're not meant to have fun," a stern-faced Herdman said after putting his team through a training session on Wednesday. "You climb Everest, it hurts, and it's painful.

"We're now in the death zone where the oxygen is thinner.

"It is not meant to be fun. But when we look back and reflect, that's when we can go, 'Wow what an achievement what we have done for our country.'"

Herdman and the players have not avoided the bigger picture of what hosting a World Cup means for the sport's development in Canada but the team has maintained a laser focus on the more immediate goal of winning the tournament.

Standing in Canada's way are a sixth-ranked England team that have been building momentum with consecutive wins over Mexico, Colombia and Norway after an opening loss to France.

The two teams are very familiar with each other, England having beaten Canada 1-0 in the Cyprus Cup final in March while the latter triumphed 1-0 in their final pre-World Cup friendly.   Continued...

June 11, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Canada head coach John Herdman reacts to fans following the 0-0 draw against New Zealand in a Group A soccer match in the 2015 FIFA women's World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports