Canada has picked up its first win at the Women's World Cup football tournament in China. VOA's Jim Stevenson was at the game Saturday in Hangzhou, where the Canadians scored often against Ghana to give themselves a chance to reach the quarterfinal round.
Canada needed a big win to gain much needed points, and perhaps more importantly, build a goal differential advantage in Group-C. Fortunately for the Canadians, Ghana was the opponent.
Forward Christine Sinclair scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing. Sinclair's header in the 16th minute and chip shot in the 62nd minute made her the most prolific World Cup scorer in Canadian women's football history, with five career goals.
Sophie Schmidt scored in the 55th minute while defender Martina Franco added another in the 77th minute. Both were headers.
Canadian coach Even Pellerud says his team got past an African squad that plays a very fluid style of football.
"Ghana is a tricky team to play against," he said. "They move the ball very well. They have to chase. They had more possession [time] than us. So, it was a good fitness test and I think we did well today."
Also in Hangzhou, Australia came from behind to tie Norway, 1-1. Ragnhild Gulbrandsen put Norway ahead in the fifth minute. But Lisa De Vanna came off the bench to net an 83rd minute strike for Australia.
Norwegian coach Bjarne Berntsen says he is still happy with the result even though his team could not hold on for a win.
"I think that considering the 90 minutes [of playing time], we have to be pleased with the one point we got. And we think we are in a very good situation before our last group game," he said.
Australia and Norway lead Group-C with four points each, followed by Canada with three. Ghana has no points.
Also Saturday in Wuhan, Denmark defeated New Zealand, 2-0. Brazil soundly beat host China, 4-0. Brazil now has two victories and six points to lead the Group-D standings. Denmark and China have three points each while New Zealand has none.
The top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the semifinals. All of the 16 nations have one game remaining in the first round.