TERRASSA, Spain — Canada lost 3-0 in a penalty shootout to South Korea on Wednesday to finish winless in the team's first appearance in the women's field hockey World Cup in almost 30 years.
"It's hard at this moment but it's obviously been a wonderful experience to be back on the world stage," said head coach Rob Short, who played in two World Cups for Canada's men's team.
"You just learn how hard it is to play on this stage. It's not easy. We played well and we can't ask for more from the girls. It's hard. I guess we must work harder back home but it’s been a wonderful experience and I hope we are back here sooner rather than later."
The 14th-ranked Canadians went 0-3-0 in Pool C, losing 4-1 to No. 5 Spain, 3-2 to No. 13 South Korea and 7-1 to No. 2 Argentina. They dropped a heartbreaking shootout loss to India in their first consolation game.
Canada finished tied with South Africa, who also went winless in the tournament, for 15-16th place.
Sara McManus made her 200th international appearance, joining recently retired Danielle Hennig (Kelowna, B.C.) and Kate Wright (Kingston, Ont.) as the only Canadian women to break the 200-cap milestone.
"I am so excited to be here with (McManus) on her 200th," Short said of the defender, who hasn't missed a game for Canada since earning her first cap in 2010. "We both come from Tsawwassen (B.C.), so it's extra special to see her out there today. She is a warrior and has given so much to the team and country – a true professional and a gritty, tough, intelligent back."
With no final placing game taking place due to the tournament taking place in two citites, Wednesday's match was about finishing on a high note.
The game was even through regulation with two penalty corner chances apiece, few field goal opportunities and lots of play through midfield.
Canadian midfielder Amanda Woodcroft of Waterloo, Ont., appeared to score in the shootout, but the ball crossed the line 0.2 seconds too late. From there, Maddie Secco and Anna Mollenhauer of Victoria missed their backhand shots while three consecutive Korean shooters scored on their forehand to clinch the victory.
"I think we grew throughout the tournament," said Canadian captain Natalie Sourisseau. "We are disappointed in not getting a win in the tournament, but it's been our first appearance at a World Cup in 28 years and we have to use this opportunity to recognize where the gap is between us and that next level, the top 10, and as a collective – as a team, individuals and staff – find out what that difference is and how we can close it."
The Canadians next head to Birmingham, England, for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2022.
The Canadian Press