MONTPELLIER, France (Reuters) – Defender Kadeisha Buchanan scored on the stroke of halftime to hand Canada a winning start to the women’s World Cup as they edged Cameroon 1-0 at a rainy Stade de La Mosson on Monday.
Buchanan came storming in at a corner and delivered a textbook header to break the deadlock.
Yet it was an unconvincing performance from Canada, who are fifth in the FIFA women’s rankings and were quarter-finalists at the last World Cup.
Despite all their possession and passing, Canada managed just three efforts on target as they battled to get the better of the African’s defence.
Canada’s veteran captain Christine Sinclair could only muster several half chances in her bid to become the first player to score at five different women’s World Cups.
Nichelle Prince hit the outside of the post just before Buchanan’s goal and then also put a close-in effort wide on the hour mark.
But Canada almost paid a price for failing to add to the goal when Claudine Meffometou went just wide from a 70th minute corner in the only real effort of the night for Cameroon.
European champions the Netherlands open their Group E account against New Zealand in Le Havre on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)