Canada inspired in World Cup by Toronto Raptors’ NBA title

Inspired by Canada’s first NBA title, the country’s national women’s soccer team is aiming to emulate the Toronto Raptors’ magical run.

The fifth-ranked Canadians were asleep in France when the Raptors beat the Warriors in a clinching Game 6 at Oracle Arena early Friday morning Paris time. But the players checked the result the moment they awoke.

“We’re very excited for the Raptors. It’s massive for Canada,” midfielder Sophie Schmidt said. “The first thing we did when we woke up was check our phones. That’s massive for Canada and we’re hoping to get the result and have another success story for Canadians to celebrate.”

Next up for Canada is a Group E match Saturday against New Zealand at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble. Canada won its opener 1-0 over Cameroon, and New Zealand lost to the Netherlands 1-0.

Canada and New Zealand met four years ago in the World Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, a match temporarily halted for lightning. The teams played to a 0-0 draw.

New Zealand has two players who have played at Cal — more than any other team at the World Cup. Betsy Hassett (2009-12) played with U.S. striker Alex Morgan for two of her seasons. Daisy Cleverley, a junior midfielder for the Bears, is making her second World Cup appearance.

Thai goalie thanks Lloyd: The goalkeeper who allowed 13 goals when the United States routed Thailand in a Group F game Tuesday has thanked U.S. forward Carli Lloyd, who scored one of the goals, for offering words of encouragement.

Lloyd sought out Sukanya Chor Charoenying following the record-breaking U.S. victory. Lloyd said she told her to keep her chin up. Sukanya, who made eight saves, wasn’t even expected to start in Tuesday’s opener but got the nod over Waraporn Boonsing.

“Thanks so much, Lloyd. Your words that you told me make me strong,” Sukanya posted on Twitter, adding emojis including Thailand’s flag, a heart and an American flag. “Keep going for this tournament and so on. Firstly, I felt disappointment in worst situation but this is the biggest experience in my life.”

Lloyd responded Sukanya’s posting with a tweet of her own: “All you can do is give it your best each and every day. Keep fighting and never give up!! Still 2 more games to play.”

Lloyd later told reporters, “… we are human, and there is a human element to it. And you’ve got to feel for a goalkeeper letting in 13 goals. If you don’t, I don’t think you have much of a heart.”

Friday’s games: Jodie Taylor scored her first international goal in 14 months to send England into the knockout stage with a 1-0 victory over Argentina. The Argentines, who earned their first World Cup point in an opening draw against Japan, were resilient but Taylor finally found a way past goalkeeper Vanina Correa in the 61st minute after she had repeatedly thwarted England’s attack. Taylor sneaked into a central location unchecked by the Argentine defense and met Beth Mead’s low cross. Taylor nudged the ball into the net and ended a 540-day England goal drought for the Golden Boot winner from the 2017 European Championship.

Also, Cristiana Girelli scored a hat trick to put Italy into the knockout stage with a 5-0 victory over Jamaica. It was Italy’s second hat trick at the World Cup, as Girelli joined Carolina Morace, who did it at the inaugural 1991 tournament. Girelli’s three goals were the third hat trick this World Cup. Aurora Galli came in as a substitute for Italy and scored twice for the final margin. …. Mana Iwabuchi had an early goal and then Japan held off a late charge from Scotland for a 2-1 victory. Iwabuchi, who was on the Japanese team that beat the U.S. in the final to win the World Cup in 2011, scored in the 23rd minute to give Japan its first goal of the tournament. Yuika Sugasawa converted a penalty in the 37th minute to pad the lead going into the break.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Canada-inspired-in-World-Cup-by-Toronto-13999569.php.

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