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Canada-England encounter looks to be another nail-biter at Women's World Cup

06/23/2015 04:44 EDT | Updated 06/23/2016 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - Expect another nail-biter as Canada takes on England in Saturday's quarter-final at the Women's World Cup.

Canada's two wins at the tournament — it also has two ties — have been by one-goal margins. Four of its last five matches with England were decided by one goal.

"They've been really, really tight encounters," Herdman told a media conference call Tuesday in his first public comments since England beat Norway 2-1 to earn a date with Canada at B.C. Place Stadium.

"And I think that's what it's going to be. I don't think you can pick an underdog for this game. And I don't even want to pitch it like that. When you get into a quarter-final, it's just game on for both teams. Regardless of where you're ranked, regardless of what your results have been prior to that game, both teams are just going to come and go for it."

All four of England's tournament games, three of which were wins, have been decided by one goal.

"The difference will be who unlocks the defence," Herdman said. "Will it be a set play or will it be just a moment of magic from an individual player?That's how tight this game can be."

England, ranked sixth in the world, represents No. 8 Canada's first top-10 opponent at the soccer showcase.

In the other quarter-final on Canada's side of the draw, No. 10 Australia plays either No. 4 Japan or the 12th-ranked Netherlands. One of those teams will face the Canada-England winner in Edmonton on July 1.

"Look, we're two games away from the final now," said Herdman. "It feels like it's touching distance. ... It's really exciting for our players."

"The story's starting to come together," added midfielder Desiree Scott, the lone Canadian who plays her club soccer in England. "Things are starting to get really real. We're on to the quarters and the team is really pumped."

While Canada has had an extra day to recover at its home base of Vancouver after Sunday's 1-0 win over Switzerland, England had to fly west from Ottawa after playing Monday.

"It's nice we're in Vancouver because we can get some extra hands in if need be — extra massage therapists et cetera," said Scott.

The English started with two games in Moncton before playing their final group game in Montreal. Canada opened with two games in Edmonton before also wrapping up pool play in Montreal.

England, ranked sixth in the world, represents No. 8 Canada's first top-10 opponent at the soccer showcase.

Canada's all-time record against England is 5-6-0. Herdman's team also holds a 2-0 win over Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.

"We've got an opponent in England that we know a lot about. We played recently," said Herdman. "There's definitely a confidence within the camp that we can go on and get what we need out of this game."

Canada beat England 1-0 in the last meeting between the two, a pre-tournament warmup in Hamilton. But England coach Mark Sampson rotated his squad and said his players were still get acclimatized after the trip across the Atlantic.

England had won the previous four meetings.

Canada is used to playing without a safety net. Twelve of its last 16 games in all competitions have been decided by one goal — three others were ties while the other game was a 2-0 Canada win.

Canada went 10-3-3 during that stretch, relying on a stingy defence quarterbacked by teenage centre back Kadeisha Buchanan in front of reliable 'keeper Erin McLeod.

Scott, who adds more teeth to the defence in the midfield, will face four Notts County Ladies FC teammates on the England squad: Alex Greenwood, Laura Bassett, Ellen White and Carly Telford.

She texted them to congratulate them after the win over Norway, adding "we're no longer friends for this week leading up to the (quarter-final) game."

"We wish each other well but come Saturday it's going to be Canada versus England, for sure."

Canada, in its sixth trip to the tournament, has only made it this far once before. Even Pellerud's team finished fourth in 2003, losing to Sweden in the semifinal and the U.S. in the third-place game.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

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