Canada will be looking to lock up top spot in Group A in their final match of the group stage, while the Netherlands will need a result to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.
Canada sit atop the group after a win over China and a draw with New Zealand, while the Dutch sit in third place after a win over New Zealand and a loss to China. But a Netherlands win over Canada could throw the entire group into disarray, giving the hosts a much more difficult route through the knockout phase.
The match takes place in front of what’s expected to be a massive audience at Montreal’s Stade Olympique on Monday (7:30 pm ET on CTV in Canada; FOX Sports 1 in the US). Here are four things to keep in mind ahead of the match:
Can Canada make them count?
After a frustrating 0-0 draw with New Zealand — which came after Canadian head coach John Herdman had declared that his team “should” beat the Football Ferns — Canada will be hoping that they can convert their attacking opportunities into actual goals.
Canada have only scored two goals in their last five Women’s World Cup contests, and both of them came from set pieces. Another scoreless draw, if one were to happen against the Netherlands, would be enough to see Canada through to the elimination stages, but wouldn’t bode well for their chances to go beyond the Round of 16.
Feeding the Dutch dreams
This is the Netherlands’ first-ever appearance in the Women’s World Cup, and they made an impressive debut against New Zealand, with Lieke Martens scoring a memorable goal en route to a 1-0 victory.
But the Dutch—who had been picked by some observers as a dark horse favorite to make an impact in the tournament — looked quite different in their second match, dropping a 1-0 decision to China on a late goal from Wang Lisi.
Now, with a loss to Canada likely meaning elimination from the tournament, the Netherlands will need to show the danger they demonstrated against the Kiwis, rather than the timidity we saw against the Chinese.
Oh captain, our captain
With 154 career goals, Canadian captain Christine Sinclair is the player who draws the majority of attention from opposing defenders. She scored a penalty kick against China but has also failed to convert numerous chances in Canada’s two games thus far.
Sinclair, who just turned 32 years old, no longer singlehandedly dominates games in the way she did for much of a decade. But with little coming in the way of goalscoring support from Sinclair’s fellow strikers, Sinclair will likely need to step up once again if her country has its eyes on a victory.
One-way historical traffic
Canada holds a near-perfect record against the Netherlands, having won eight times and drawn just once, back in 1988. But history has already been made in this tournament with the Dutch posting their first-ever Women’s World Cup win, and the two teams’ similar world rankings (Canada is No. 8; Netherlands is No. 12) suggest that if there were ever a time for the Dutch to break that goose egg, it would be now.