Abam makes World Cup debut; Canada move on to group stage

WVU Women's Soccer

The Group Stage for the 2018 FIFA Women’s World Cup is coming to a close, marking the end of the first phase of the tournament. 

Canada will be moving on to the knockout stage despite dropping their third Group E match to the Netherlands by a score of 2-1.

Anchored by WVU alumnae Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence in the back, Canada had been dominating up to that point, knocking both Cameroon and New Zealand off while maintaining two clean sheets.

Canada met their first match of the tournament on Thursday against the Netherlands. The match got tense early when the Netherlands nearly gave up a penalty to Canada in the 2nd minute, but it was overturned after a review. Canada would again get a great chance in the 22nd minute only to have the goal disallowed.

The Canadian defense would take a hit in the first half after Buchanan received a yellow card for challenging a Dutch player from behind. While Canada did struggle to score, it was not for a lack of effort. Lawrence, who started at right-back, would try everything in her arsenal to get the ball in the box, but her attackers struggled to finish.

The Netherlands would take the lead in the 54th minute on a set piece, but Lawrence would soon set up an equalizer in the 60th. That would not be enough for Canada to hold on for the draw, as the Dutch knocked in their game-winner in the 75th minute.

With their win, the Netherlands have taken the top spot for Group E, with Canada slipping to the second spot. Both squads will move on to the knockout stage.

On other side of the group, Cameroon rounded out their 2019 World Cup with a victory over New Zealand. WVU alumna Michaela Abam got the start for Cameroon on the left wing, marking her World Cup debut.

Cameroon took the lead in the 57th minute, but would nearly relinquish the win in the 80th minute after giving up an own goal. Abam would attempt several shots at the net, but she would be unable to convert. 

The result would be made at nearly the last possible minute, when Cameroon snuck a goal through in the 5th minute of stoppage time. No matter the result, both squads were to be eliminated from the tournament, but Cameroon would finish third in the group.

Canada begin their trek through the knockout stage on June 24th in Paris against the runners-up of Group F.

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