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    March 30, 2020 8:53 PM CDT

    VANCOUVER -- John Herdman says Canada is getting closer. Donald Payne Jersey Retro . After watching his team fall 2-1 to Germany in an international friendly on Wednesday night, the Canadian head coach was adamant the gap is shrinking between his side and the top teams in the womens game ahead of next summers home World Cup. Canadas starting roster included four teenagers, including 16-year-old midfielder Jessie Fleming, and while there were rough patches Herdman was buoyed by the performance against the No. 2-ranked team in the world. "A year out, 2-1 away from the European champions, a goal away?" said Herdman. "Ya Ill take that." Herdman is trying to implement a more free-flowing system ahead of the World Cup as opposed to the more direct, long-ball style of past Canadian teams. It has taken some time for the players to grasp the concepts, and fitness remains a concern, but they were right with the imposing Germans for long stretches on Wednesday. "Weve said this World Cups about two things," said Herdman. "Its about making the country proud, but also trying to inspire a generation of coaches and players at the youth level that theres another way of going about things other than the blunt instrument." Wednesdays lineup included Fleming, along with a trio of young defenders -- 17-year-old Sura Yekka, along with Kadeisha Buchanan and Rebecca Quinn, who are both 18. "These games, we said, this year will tell us what the gap is," said Herdman. "We improved. Im clear on that. "Were producing more crosses, more final acts, more final third entries than we ever did." However, the game was decided on a mistake by one of those youngsters as Simone Laudehr scored from the penalty spot in the 66th minute after Buchanan brought down Lena Lotzen. Laudehr stepped up with the score tied 1-1 and calmly blasted a shot into the roof of the past a helpless Erin McLeod for a lead the visitors would never relinquish. "Youre dealing against a different type of player," Herdman said of the German attack. "Youre not dealing against one individual player that you can mark out of a game. Youre dealing against three or four players that move with one mind at the same time, and thats a different challenge. It takes communication, it takes earlier adjustments." Lotzen had Germanys other goal on the night, while Sophie Schmidt replied for Canada. "Germany, theyre so organized," said Canadian captain Christine Sinclair. "Any little mistake you make theyre 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 weve made a lot of progress. Its just cleaning those little things up." The German winner came after Schmidt woke up a sleepy crowd of 15,618 at B.C. Place Stadium in the 53rd minute with a bizarre game-tying goal. The Canadian midfielder completely scuffed her shot after taking a pass in the box from Diana Matheson, but the ball scooped up and over German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer for an unlikely equalizer. Trailing 1-0 at the half, Canada gave up two glorious chances to Germanys Anja Mittag that she couldnt finish just after the break. The striker was stopped by McLeod -- who came on for Karina LeBlanc at halftime -- in the 47th minute, and then again in the 49th after a sloppy pass by Fleming and a timid challenge from Quinn. "Theyll learn from that. If thats the biggest issue I think thats going to be cleaned up pretty quickly," said Herdman said of his teenagers. "Those mistakes are not going to happen as frequently and this is a great learning (experience) for some of those younger players." After Schmidt tied the score, McLeod stopped Alexandra Popp on another breakaway in the 58th minute as Germany continued to probe No. 7 Canada for a weakness that would eventually come in the 65th. McLeod made a number of big saves as second half wore down, keeping the score respectable in a game where Germany took a while to get going before showing its class. The Germans came close on two golden opportunities in the first half and finally struck in the 29th minute when Laudehr crossed a ball from the left that glanced off Mittag and right to Lotzen, who poked a shot home past LeBlanc. Sinclair had the games first opportunity when she was sent in alone in the 12th minute, but she was stopped Angerer. Popp then nearly caught LeBlanc off her line six minutes later, but saw her effort 40 yards out rattle off the crossbar. Canadian defender Rhian Wilkinson then nearly gifted the Germans the lead in the 24th when her ill-advised pass was intercepted by Mittag, but her shot in alone went over the bar. Buchanan scored her first goal for Canada in last months 1-1 draw with the United States, and nearly had her second in as many games two minutes later, only to be thwarted by Angerer. After Germany took the lead, the visitors almost got another goal moments later, but Bianca Schmidt missed a golden opportunity from six yards out. Canada, which has never beaten Germany, lost 1-0 to the European giants last year in a game where Herdmans team barely had the ball over the halfway line. He said that despite the scoreline and the chances surrendered in the final 30 minutes on Wednesday, the performance is reason for optimism with the start of the World Cup less than a year away. "We didnt get dominated. They didnt pen us into our half for 90 minutes," said Herdman. "I think thats a really positive performance. "The futures pretty bright." Notes: Sinclair and Angerer, who was named FIFA womens world player of the year for 2013, are teammates with the Portland Thorns of the NWSL. ... Canada will play Japan in an international friendly on Oct. 25 in Edmonton before the two teams meet again on Oct. 28 in Vancouver. ... Germany won the womens World Cup in both 2003 and 2007. ... Sinclair played her 210th game for Canada. She has 148 career goals for her country. ... The womens World Cup final will be played at B.C. Place on July 5, 2015. Taylor Decker Jersey Retro . Louis Blues, having added Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from Buffalo, remain the No. Jeff Walker Jersey Retro . -- Howie Kendrick had a two-run single in his first game batting leadoff this season, Chris Iannetta hit a pair of RBI singles and the Los Angeles Angels beat Cleveland 6-4 Tuesday night, sending the Indians to their fifth straight defeat.Four-time winner Yaya Toure has failed to make the five-man shortlist for the African Player of the Year award, with three other Premier League stars in the running.   The Manchester City midfielder has just returned to favour with his club, making his first league appearance of the season and scoring twice in the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. Sadio Mane of Liverpool is in contention for this years accolade His period in exile from the City first team has seen Toure, who was angry at not winning the last African award, miss out on selection from the voting panel. Sky Sports Black Friday sale Dont delay! Upgrade to Sky Sports now and get 12 months half price! Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane and Islam Slimani are among the five in contention for the prize, along with current holder Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah. Toure celebrates after the Ivory Coast won last years Africa Cup of Nations The award winner will be announced on January 5, the African football confederation (CAF) said.Toure was sidelined during a dispute between his agent, Dimitri Seluk, and City manager Pep Guardiola, who demanded an apology for a series of scathing comments in the media made by the Ivorians representative.  Mahrez (second left) was a stellar light in Leicesters stunning title success An apology from Tooure earlier this month saw the 33-year-old phased back into the first-team matchday squad. Bill Kirchiro Jersey Retro. Guardiola sold Toure to City in 2010 and he has made more than 250 appearances for the club The 33-year-old railed against the verdict in January 2016 when Aubameyang ended his four-year reign as Africas top player, saying it brought shame on Africa and was indecent that his own achievement as the Africa Cup of Nations-winning captain was not sufficiently recognised.Toure has since retired from international football. Yaya Toure trained with Manchester Citys squad, despite being ineligible to play against Borussia Monchengladbach Upgrade to Sky Sports now and get 12 months half price. Hurry hurry, offer ends December 4! Also See: Champions League permutations Pep ponders Yaya CL recall Transfer Centre LIVE! International football news ' ' '