Canada’s opening match at the 2019 Women’s World Cup is a bit of a mystery.
While the Canadians have faced Group E opponents New Zealand and the Netherland at prior World Cups, Monday’s match in Montpellier will mark their first ever meeting against Cameroon in any capacity at the senior level.
Cameroon is relatively new to the Women’s World Cup stage, with just one prior appearance in the competition. But the team isn’t a total stranger when it comes to major tournaments, having played at the Olympics in 2012, and putting in strong showings at the Africa Women Cup of Nations.
For Canada, it’s also fairly uncharted territory, because since 2010 it has only faced an African nation on five occasions, most recently a 2-1 win over Nigeria in April.
Here’s a closer look at the numbers between Canada and Cameroon ahead of their opening game of Group E on Monday in France.
4 — Canada and Cameroon have never faced one another in senior competition. However, Canada earned a 3-2 win over Cameroon at the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup. Four Canadian players from that youth team are on this World Cup roster: Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso, Jordyn Huitema and Deanne Rose. Huitema scored the opening goal in that victory, while Grosso provided an assist on the game-winner in the 83rd minute.
5 — Canada enters the competition ranked fifth in the world, the team’s highest ever ranking going into a Women’s World Cup. The Reds enter the tournament having conceded just one goal with no losses in nine matches in 2019.
7 — 2019 marks Canada’s seventh consecutive appearance at the Women’s World Cup. The team’s best finish came in 2003, when it placed fourth.
11 — Cameroon finished 11th in its World Cup debut in 2015, advancing to the Round of 16. The squad posted a record of 2-0-2 in Canada, scoring nine goals while conceding four. The African side nearly pulled off one of the tournament’s biggest upsets, narrowly losing 2-1 to Japan, the 2011 Women’s World Cup winners. In 2015, Cameroon beat Ecuador and Switzerland in round-robin play to finish second in Group C, a surprise result for the debutant side.
22 — Wearing no. 22 for Cameroon is striker Michaela Abam. The 21-year-old born in Houston, Texas was a long-time teammate of Canadian players Ashley Lawrence and Kadeisha Buchanan at West Virginia University.
25.03 — Canada’s roster is the tournament’s fourth youngest. The group features three teenagers (Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso and Jordyn Huitema) and 12 players in their early to mid-20s. The overall average of the rosters in France is 26.06.
28.01 — Cameroon has the third oldest team at the tournament, with an average age of 28.01. Only the Americans and Brazilians have an older side.
46 — Cameroon’s ranking entering the World Cup. The nation has never been rated higher than 43rd (in 2015).
181 — Christine Sinclair is four goals away from Abby Wambach’s all-time international record of 184. This also marks the fifth time she’s suited up in a World Cup.
2003 – Christine Sinclair’s first ever World Cup goal was scored at the 2003 edition of the tournament. It came in the fourth minute of a 4-1 group stage loss to Germany at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.