Four years ago, Canada and New Zealand battled it out in group stage action in Edmonton at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
On Saturday, they’ll face off again, this time in Grenoble, France, with both sides looking to claim three crucial points, and hoping they don’t play out to a 0-0 draw like the last time.
The two sides have a lengthy history, dating back to the late 1980s, and the Football Ferns have only beaten the Reds once.
“They are a team that will be fighting for their World Cup lives, they have never won a game in a FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament, and we know that they are out to try and get a win and get out of the group,” Canada’s captain Christine Sinclair said. “They have improved a lot over the past couple of years, it’s going to be a battle.”
Here’s a closer look at the numbers between Canada and New Zealand ahead of their Group E game on Saturday.
0 — New Zealand is still looking for its first win at a World Cup. The team has appeared in four editions of the competition but has never finished higher than 11th (1991) with an all-time record of 0-3-10. They’ve scored seven goals, while conceding 30.
4 — Players from both teams are quite familiar with each other at club level. Stephanie Labbe (Canada) and Abby Erceg both suit up professionally for the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League, Desiree Scott (Canada) and Katie Bowen are teammates at the NWSL’s Utah Royals, Adriana Leon (Canada) and Ria Percival are members of West Ham United in the FA Women’s Super League, while Sabrina D’Angelo (Canada) and CJ Bott play for Sweden’s Vittsjo GIK.
6 — Canada has a record of six wins, with four draws and one loss, in 11 international matches against New Zealand.
7 — No one has scored more goals versus New Zealand than Christine Sinclair. In eight matches, she’s found the back of the net on seven occasions, including a brace during a friendly in the summer of 2007. Karina LeBlanc was in the Canadian net to earn the clean sheet. None of the goalkeepers on the current roster have faced New Zealand. However, Stephanie Labbe was part of the 2015 Women’s World Cup squad that played New Zealand in Edmonton.
7 — Seven members of the Football Ferns play in domestic leagues, compared to just two for Canada. The Western Springs AFC, Miramar Rangers AFC, Glenfield Rovers, Papakura City FC and Onehunga Sports are all represented on New Zealand. Five players on the World Cup roster are unattached, while the rest suit up in foreign leagues.
8 — A Canadian win would take them to eight victories all-time at the World Cup. Canada has qualified for seven of eight editions of the tournament, with a standing record of 7-5-12.
11 — New Zealand head coach Tom Sermanni was part of the Canadian women’s program as an assistant and technical director for 11 matches through 2014-2015 under then bench boss John Herdman. From there, he coached in the NWSL and during his time at the Orlando Pride, he was interviewed by Sportsnet. He’s the oldest coach at the World Cup at 64 (He’ll turnd 65, incidentally, on Canada Day).
19 — New Zealand is currently ranked 19th in the world, 14 spots below Canada. The program’s best-ever ranking was 16th, a plateau hit twice, in 2013 and 2015. The team has never been ranked lower than 24th.
31 — Age of New Zealand captain Ali Riley. The Los Angeles-born defender began representing the Ferns at a senior level in 2007, and now had over 120 appearances to her name. Her father was born in New Zealand. She plays professionally for Chelsea, joining the club after spending half a decade with FC Rosengärd of Sweden.
181 — Christine Sinclair is four goals away from Abby Wambach’s all-time international record of 184.
1987 – Canada and New Zealand’s history in women’s soccer dates all the way back to 1987. Their first match was played in Taipei during the Chinese Cup. While a lot of details aren’t available about the meeting, New Zealand won 1-0, and the match was only 70 minutes in duration.