‘Stick with us, we’ll be back’: What CanWNT needs moving forward

Now that the dust has settled, we can talk about it right?

We can talk about why and how the Canadian women’s national team fell out of a tournament where the expectations were high but the delivery was low.

For everything that it was – an impressive opening, a resolute second match, a hard-fought third, and a narrow-edges final bout – there were a lot of things that weren’t there for Canada in France.

As Canada head coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said post-game, “The story of the game was going in our favour.”

That seemed to be an ongoing theme within camp.

If Canada wants to remain competitive and grow as a team – or on the scale of FIFA’s rankings – there are some issues that need to be addressed.

Creatively, the squad has loads of potential. But they’ll have to realize it.

“We did create (chances), but just couldn’t put them in the back of the net,” said Ashley Lawrence after her team’s loss to Sweden. “(Sweden) scored their one chance and unfortunately we didn’t.”

This doesn’t seem to be a new problem for Canada. As national teams around the world, especially in Europe, become more talented and receive more and more investment and support than every before, falling behind can be dangerous.

It’s why seven of the final eight teams in this World Cup are from Europe, after all.

So what does Canada’s women’s national team need to do?

With such a young core at the helm to takeover for the next Women’s World Cup in 2023, the pressure will continue in its intensity. But this team can’t let that pressure get to them. With Christine Sinclair likely to have seen her last World Cup, Canada as a squad can’t put the pressure on any other player to become the next “Sinclair”

Frankly, the CanWNT can’t risk another decade of heavily relying on one player if they want to stay in top contention.

The next step is, of course, learning from the mistakes of France and looking ahead to future tournaments with a fresh mind.

“This team is a master at rebounding,” Sinclair stated, plainly. She’s right.

With that, it’s fair to say that Heiner-Moller deserves another shot at something with what may be a different looking squad in the upcoming years. And the team as a whole, whoever is on it, deserves to be looked at as the new generation that could really lead Canada deep into a major tournament like the World Cup.

Canada have been ranking highly for years now and with the right development, which can be achieved, a trophy in the near future can be seen.