Defending Olympic champions Canada have been eliminated from the 2023 Women’s World Cup at the group stage, after a shocking 4-0 defeat to hosts Australia last night. Canada, including Chelsea’s Jessie Fleming and Kadeisha Buchanan, won gold at the 2020/1 Tokyo Olympics, and had reached the knockout rounds in each of the last two World Cups, but they go home empty handed and with much palpable discord this time around.
Fleming did play the full-90 in this one, as did Buchanan, but there was no stopping the Matildas — and that’s despite Sam Kerr not playing once again as she continues to recover from a calf injury. Kerr had declared herself fit and was indeed part of the matchday squad in what was a must-win for them, but barely warmed up let alone actually take part. Hopefully she will be ready for real for the Round of 16 in a few days, where Australia will take on the runners-up from Group D, likely to be Denmark.
Canada’s demise was confirmed by a 0-0 draw between Republic of Ireland and Nigeria, with the latter thus advancing from Group B as runners-up. They will take on the winners of Group D next, likely to be England.
Elsewhere, Japan beat Spain, 4-0 to advance as group winners — both were already assured of the knockout rounds, so placement was the only thing on the line — and will thus take on Guro Reiten & Co at Norway in the Round of 16.