Women's World Cup 2019: Heiner-Moller confident Canada has overcome nerves

The head coach is expecting Canada to play with more freedom when it takes on New Zealand in its second Group E outing.

The Canadian team celebrates after its victory on Monday. Photo: AFP

Canada's victory over Cameroon in its opening Women's World Cup match means it will not be nervous heading into the game against New Zealand, according to Kenneth Heiner-Moller.

Kadeisha Buchanan's first international goal on the stroke of half-time proved enough to earn a 1-0 win in Montpellier on Monday, moving Canada top of Group E.

Claudine Meffometou should have restored parity for Cameroon in the 70th minute, but her poor header let Canada off the hook. And with three points secured heading into its second group game — against New Zealand on Saturday — head coach Heiner-Moller is confident his side has shrugged off any nerves it harboured heading into the tournament.

Read | On day of defence, Canada wins

"We're excited because of the three points. I don't think we'll have the nervousness now," Heiner-Moller told a news conference.

'Different game'

"I think it'll be a very different game. Not easier, not harder, just different. We knew this would be a chaotic game. We tried to bring some calmness, sometimes we did that and sometimes we didn't. The New Zealand game should be more structured and the three points is good to have."

Canada dominated the first half at Stade de la Mosson but it only took the lead when Buchanan headed home from a corner prior to the break, two minutes after Nichelle Prince had hit the post, and Hainer-Moller acknowledged his side took a while to get into its groove.

"We needed more than a few minutes to get the nervousness out. The first game is a crucial one, some of the favourites are not coming out with three points," he said.

"When you're controlling the ball and the game and if small mistakes creep in, the opposition can look to counter-attack. I don't think it's ever a bad moment to score but that was definitely a good moment. It made us calm at half-time."

 

Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa, meanwhile, was satisfied with his side's resilient display and believes it is in a strong position to build on its performance in its next outing against Netherlands.

"Canada are a more mature team, we saw that with the way they were playing," Djeumfa said.

"We were able to put Canada in difficult situations, but what we weren't able to do was close the game. Netherlands are not the same type of team as Canada, and I think we will be able to score goals against them. We have been able to identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to adapt our strategy."