Pitchside: Friendly: Canada v Germany

In the 65th minute, with the game tied at one apiece, Bayern Munich's Lena Lotzen was brought down in the box by Kadeisha Buchanan, a student at West Virginia University. The penalty was the correct decision, as Buchanan had stepped on Lotzen's boot as she began to pull away from both Buchanan and Desiree Scott.

Frankfurt's Simone Laudehr calmly took the penalty kick and sent the ball just left of centre, and into the top of the net. Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod had guessed right, but Laudehr managed to put it just out of reach.

Earlier in the match, Laudehr had connected with Rosengård's Anja Mittag, who flicked it on towards the back post, where Lotzen was able to tap it in for a 29th minute German lead.

Nestled between the two Germans goals was a 53rd minute wonder strike by Sophie Schmidt, who sent the ball high and slow, managing to fool German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer into thinking that the ball would go high and wide. By the time she realised her mistake, the ball had already dipped back down and found its way into the back of the net.

Heading into the match, the Germans were ranked second in the world, and it showed. On the day, the gap between second and seventh seemed immense, with the Germans in full control of the match from start to finish.

 Kathrin Hendrich and Diana Matheson clashed at BC Place on 18 June 2014.

Kathrin Hendrich and Diana Matheson clashed at BC Place on 18 June 2014.

Where Canada looked to move the ball up the centre of the field, the Germans used the width of the pitch, pulling Canadian defenders out of position, and it seemed like they always had a woman open.

The Germans have a reputation as a well-oiled machine, and if these women are any indication, then the reputation is well deserved. However, something must be said for Canada's resilience, and ability to hold the Germans at bay.

If not for the penalty, Canada might have held on for a historic draw. The match featured a mixture of youth and experience for the Canadians. 16-year old Jesse Fleming joined, 17-year old Surra Yekka, and 18-year olds Rebecca Quinn and Buchanan all started for the Canadians. In the 71st minute, 19-year old Ashley Lawrence became the fifth teenage to feature in the match.

They were of course the usual suspects, Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Kaylyn Kyle, Erin McLeod, Emily Zurer, and many others, but this was all about testing themselves. As they had against Mexico in November, the United States in May, and will against Japan come October, it was all about seeing where they are.

"A year out, 2-1 away from the European champions, a goal away?" said Canadian manager John Herdman. "Ya, I'll take that."

"We've said this World Cup's about two things," said Herdman, referring to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, which kicks off on June 6th in Edmonton, and wraps up on July 5th in Vancouver. "It's about making the country proud, but also trying to inspire a generation of coaches and players at the youth level that there's another way of going about things other than the blunt instrument."

 Dzsenifer Marozsán struggles to take a corner in front of the Voyageurs at BC Place on 18 June 2014.

Dzsenifer Marozsán struggles to take a corner in front of the Voyageurs at BC Place on 18 June 2014.

"These games, we said, this year will tell us what the gap is," added Herdman. "We improved. I'm clear on that. We're producing more crosses, more final acts, more final third entries than we ever did."

"You're dealing against a different type of player," Herdman said of the German blitzkrieg. "You're not dealing against one individual player that you can mark out of a game. You're dealing against three or four players that move with one mind at the same time, and that's a different challenge. It takes communication, it takes earlier adjustments."

"Germany, they're so organised," said Canadian captain Christine Sinclair. "Any little mistake you make they're going to punish you and they punished us on a couple tonight. Overall, just in terms of the style of play we were trying to produce, I think we've made a lot of progress. It's just cleaning those little things up."

"We didn't get dominated. They didn't pen us into our half for 90 minutes," and Herman was right. They did have their runs, Canada caught Germany on the counterattack, forced some corners, earned free kicks, and did manage a goal. "I think that's a really positive performance. The future's pretty bright."

We wouldn't go that far, not yet at least, but when you consider that this was the second best team in the world, that Canada fielded five teenagers, and only lost thanks to a penalty, maybe the future is bright. The next two matches, both against third-ranked Japan, should shed light on whether Canada was fortunate or flattered by the score line. Click here to open Christopher Vose's fullscreen slideshow.