Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller is urging his players to enjoy the moment as they take the field Monday against Cameroon in their Women’s World Cup opener.
According to captain Christine Sinclair, Herdman is “in your-face-there all the time and intense. Obviously he got the most out of his players and the most out of us as a team.
He retired at the age of 32 due to a severe ankle and leg injury.
The stadium, located in the northwest of the city, was built in 1972 and expanded to 35,000 seats ahead of the 1998 men’s World Cup.
Christian Vieri scored twice and Luigi Di Biagio added a goal as Italy blanked Cameroon in group play at the stadium. And Juergen Klinsmann and Oliver Bierhoff were on target there in the round of 16 when Germany downed Mexico 2-1.
On paper, 46th-ranked Cameroon would seem to be in tough against the fifth-ranked Canadians.
Fellow African teams South Africa (No. 38) and Nigeria (No. 49) have already lost their first matches here – 3-1 to No. 13 Spain and 3-0 to No. 12 Norway, respectively.
Captain Christine Manie, whose goals helped her country qualify for the 2-12 Olympics and 2015 World Cup, said her Cameroon team has strength through its diversity.
Through an interpreter, she called Canada a “great challenge” and “one of the best teams in the world.”
But the 35-year-old skipper also talked up the Indomitable Lionesses.
Coach Alain Djeumfa, who took over the team in January after the team qualified in November, said the squad had had three international warmup matches against No. 56 Croatia, No. 16 China and No. 13 Spain. The team beat Croatia 2-1 and lost 1-0 to China and 4-0 to Spain.