Football Ferns poor in 'blip' 2-0 loss to Canada

Last updated 08:03 15/07/2012
Tony Readings
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POOR PERFORMANCE: Football Ferns coach Tony Readings has described his team's 2-0 loss to Canada as a "blip" rather than anything more sinister.

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Football Ferns coach Tony Readings has described his team's 2-0 loss to Canada as a "blip" rather than anything more sinister, 11 days out from their Olympic Games opener against Great Britain.

Readings is confident the New Zealand women's team's sub-par showing in Switzerland this morning (NZT) was a one-off as London 2012 draws closer.

While the Canadians, ranked No 7 in the world, were favourites to beat 23rd-ranked New Zealand in their warm-up match in Chatel-St-Denis, Readings was far from happy with the quality of his team.

"Canada were the better team and deserved to win that game," Readings acknowledged. "It was a below par Football Ferns performance and nowhere near what we're capable of."

Turnovers in midfield lead to both goals with Diana Matheson finishing the first with a superb chip over Jenny Bindon in the 30th minute and Canadian captain Christine Sinclair netting her 136th international goal on the break, soon after halftime.

New Zealand's best chances both cannoned off the crossbar with Amber Hearn rattling the woodwork early in the first half and substitute Annalie Longo doing the same from a long range effort midway through the second.

Canada's physical approach disrupted New Zealand with star fullback Ali Riley falling victim to the worst challenges. She is sweating over an ankle injury that will be reassessed tomorrow.

The Ferns' Group E opener against Great Britain on July 26 (NZT) in Cardiff is the opening act of the London Olympics and Readings is confident the momentum that had been building against China and Australia can be restored.

"We'll learn a lot from this and I'd rather do that now than at the Olympics.

"We've been on a run of consistent performances against teams ranked higher than us so is a blip rather than the trend."

New Zealand play Colombia on Wednesday (NZT) in Switzerland before travelling to London to enter the Olympic village.

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- Fairfax Media

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