Canada salutes the crowd after losing 2-1 to England in quarter-final (Getty)

(WFI) Canada had the will to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup – but not the way.

So said coach John Herdman after the 2-1 quarterfinal loss to England in Vancouver on June 27 before a Canadian women’s record 54,027 attendance. “We were punching well above our weight but I believe this team had the spirit to do it,” Herdman said after the match.

Canada were down 2-0 after the first 11 minutes against England. Captain Christine Sinclair, who had been criticized for lack of output in the teams previous four matches, scored late in the first half. Sinclair, with 155 goals in 227 international matches, managed to score the game-winner on a time added penalty kick in the June 6 tournament opener in Edmonton.

“You go down to nothing it’s hard to come back, it was huge for us to get one towards the end of the first half,” Sinclair said. “That’s a long way to come back in the quarterfinals in the World Cup.”

England advanced to the semifinal against defending champions Japan in Edmonton on July 1, Canada’s national holiday. USA takes on Germany in Montreal today in the other semifinal. The winners meet at B.C. Place on July 5.

The Canadian team spent 90 minutes in the dressing room after the match before finally emerging to the mixed zone. Midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who had the best chance to tie the match, said it was a team meeting in which there were “a lot of tears, but also special moments.”

Canada entered the tournament ranked number eight in the world. Soccer is Canada’s most popular team sport by official registrations. The Canadian Soccer Association reported 824,181 registered players in 2014 when 339,206 women and girls played.

With four matches to go, organizers claim they overtook USA 1999 as the best-attended Women’s World Cup with 1.196 million attendees. But FIFA double-counted attendance for the 15 doubleheader matches in the first round.

The announced attendance on a per match-day basis for Canada 2015 is unofficially 824,698, just shy of Germany 2011’s 845,751. Canada 2015 says this weekend’s Women’s World Cup final is sold out, which would mean approximately 54,000.

Canada 2015 sold tickets for 50 percent off for the first two Vancouver doubleheaders to City of Vancouver workers and to the general public for the USA round of 16 match in Edmonton against Colombia.

Another success – TV ratings in the USA continue to surge.

The US win over China in the June 26 quarterfinal in Ottawa drew an average 5.7 million viewers to FOX, according to Nielsen ratings. That was 700,000 better than the 1-0 win over Nigeria in the group stage on June 16.

Viewership of the quarterfinal peaked at 8.1 million.The quarterfinal was the third highest rated women’s soccer game in US TV history, trailing only the 1999 final (17.8 million) and 2011 final (13.46 million).

FOX is averaging 1.142 million viewers per match – on FOX, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 – up 42 percent from the 804,000 average during Germany 2011 on ESPN.

Whether FIFA president Sepp Blatter or general secretary Jerome Valcke attend the Canada 2015 final remains unanswered.

Valcke cancelled his trip to the June 4 opening news conference because of the bribery and corruption scandal enveloping world football’s governing body. FIFA’s last major news conference of Canada 2015 will be July 3 in Vancouver.

Reported in Vancouver by  Bob Mackin

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