Colin Bell had drawn up a smart tactical plan to limit where Canada’s most dangerous, out wide. For the first 45 minutes, it paid off almost entirely. Korea Republic knew that the flank with Ashley Lawrence and Janine Beckie was the most dangerous and looked to double up on both players whenever they had the ball on the right flank. When Canada did manage to make something happen out wide, both Jordyn Huitema and Adriana Leon could’ve keep their headers on target.
Huitema in particular remind a peripherals figure as none of her teammates were finding her often enough, either with a through ball or with a cross, often enough for the tall striker to make a difference in front of goal.
On top of that, Korea Republic would look to press high in phases which caught Canada’s midfield unawareness at times as well. Korea Republic’s best chance of the half came from that high press as Quinn was dispossessed in midfield and Ji So-yun went for goal but her effort went narrowly wide. As Canada looked to keep playing out from in, Korea Republic began to lock down on their passing channels and made sure that the ball would be played short to the Canadian players out wide so they could double them quickly.
Despite all of that, had Canada been a little bit quicker with the pass and sharper in the final third, they would’ve created more chances. Unfortunately for the first half, it was a stodgy performance from the hosts as they remained a beat to slow to make a lot happen in front of goal.
Despite a raft of changes by Bev Priestman, the story of the first half continued on in the second half except this time, Korea Republic shifted to a back five to counter any additional attackers Canada brought on. Once again, the tactical plan they had worked on many occasions and limited Canada to aimless crosses into the box and set pieces to try and find a breakthrough.
The same plan from before, doubling up the player on the flanks, continued to work for Korea Republic and with no real creativity coming from the middle, they knew that stopping the likes of Lawrence, Beckie and eventually Prince and Rose from being able to provide an assist from out wide would keep their clean sheet in tact.
Fortune must’ve been in Korea Republic’s favour today as right before the final whistle blew, Canada strode forward for a corner kick, When the ball was sent in, Kadeisha Buchanan met it strongly only to see her shot cleared off the line. The subsequent follow up shots during a mad scramble in the box were also prevented from going in by defenders on the line and Yoon Young-geul in goal. It exemplified the type of afternoon it had been for Canada; one of frustration despite the amount of effort put in.