Canada (+130) vs. England (+250) (Draw (+200))
Canada aren’t putting much fear into their opponents at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. But the host nation has done enough to reach the quarterfinals and, with home-field advantage, come into today’s match with England (7:30 PM Eastern at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver) as favorites.
The Canadians scored just two goals in the group stage, beating China (1-0), while drawing both the Netherlands (0-0) and New Zealand (1-1) to take five of nine possible points. Fortunately for the squad, the other teams in the group couldn’t separate themselves from the pack and five points was enough to finish first and earn a shockingly easy route to the finals (which features none of the US, Germany, or France, arguably the three best teams in the world).
Canada played arguably its best game of the tournament in the Round of 16, downing a game Swiss side 1-0 on the strength of a Josee Belanger tally. The teams split possession 50/50, but Canada outshot Switzerland 7-5 and looked the more dangerous side for most of the game.
Today, Canada steps up in competition again, facing an England team that beat both Colombia (2-1) and Mexico (2-1) in the round robin portion, while dropping a tight game to powerhouse France (1-0).
Like Canada, England also saved their best game of the tourney (so far) for the Round of 16, notching a 2-1 win over Norway thanks to a highlight-reel goal from Lucy Bronze. Norway appeared to be the slightly stronger side, but England’s offensive prowess proved the difference.
The team now has six goals through four games and will put the stingy Canadian defense to the test this evening.
In the trends, the teams have split their last two meetings with England winning 1-0 during the 2015 Cyprus Cup and Canada repaying the favor in a friendly on home soil back in May.
As mentioned at the outset, Canada have failed to impress in this year’s tournament while England’s offense is firing on all cylinders. The Three Lions (+250) look like better value in what feels like a toss-up, despite home-field advantage going to Canada.
Pick: England (+250).
(Photo credit: kkimphotography (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)