• If the Football Ferns looked wasted this morning it's because they took more hits from Canada at the Fifa Women's World Cup in France than punters at a downtown tequila bar.
• It's not that the Kiwi women are incapable of playing the beautiful game as individuals as much as they are collectively struggling to get on the front foot due to coach Tom Sermanni's bunker-mentality blueprint.
Well, it was a case of when, not if and I'm not just talking about Canada putting the ball into the net against the Football Ferns in France this morning.
No, I'm referring to Tom Sermanni doing the right thing in stepping down as the New Zealand coach because his blueprint isn't what the beautiful game is all about, after his troops unceremoniously went down 2-0 in their second Fifa Women's World Cup at Grenoble in France.
In fact, I say don't bother putting any feelers out overseas for some other coach in trying to employ a brand of footy that makes attacking the best form of defence because New Zealand under-17 women's coach, Leon Birnie, of Napier, already fills that portfolio.
Predictably the Canucks had more shots at the Kiwis' goalmouth than patrons at a tequila bar — 22-2 and six on target to none from the Football Ferns in the group E fixture.
The victors took 70 per cent ownership on the paddock to eke out 8-1 corner kicks in their favour. Just as the Dutch had failed to find the net as the New Zealanders parked up behind the ball so did the Canadians for the best part.
Here's the sobering reality. The Ferns have never progressed into the playoffs and don't look like it until they change their mind set, something Birnie showed in his charges-in-waiting in the under-20 ranks after taking them to a ground-breaking third-place finish in the U17 world cup in Uruguay late last year.
Frankly the Football Ferns must drop their inhibitions in their final pool game against Cameroon in Montpellier to show what they are really capable of and the best thing Sermanni can do is to promote it against a side they should comfortably beat early on Friday morning. Breaking out of their group as the best third-placed outfit is neither here nor there as the Dutch and Canucks have locked in the playoff berths.
Kohli clapping gesture to India fans timely diplomacy
The second a team's fate rests in the hands of other results it becomes a lottery.
World No 5 Canada, to put things in perspective, are undefeated in 10 outings this year and haven't conceded a goal in nine of them. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe has yet to make a save in two matches at the world cup.
Spare us any dribbles about moral victories in not embarrassing oneself because there isn't any such thing on the world's biggest platform for teams' tournaments.
The staggering reality is the Football Ferns weren't even capable of picking up any crumbs the Canadians deliberately dropped under the table, as a pet lover would to a pining pooch at dinner time.
Despite former internationals Rebecca Rolls and Maia Jackman talking up things at the Sky TV studio, the writing was on the wall at halftime.
Sermanni was refreshingly honest enough to fend off any suggestions from the post-match TV interviewer about another "gallant effort" from captain Ali Riley and her troops following the 1-0 loss on the ref's time to the Netherlands in the opener this week.
"I don't know if it was so much a gallant effort today because we were outplayed all over the field," he said. "We never got into any sort of rhythm tonight ... "
Here's the drift at fulltime — Canada were 70 per cent up in possession, 615-247 ahead in passes on the accuracy platform of 85 per cent to the Kiwis' 59.
The first goal went to Jessie Fleming after Nichelle Prince had skinned the left flank to thread the ball into the 18m box for a tap-in finish in the 48th minute.
Provider Prince deservedly became the beneficiary of the 2-0 lead in the 79th minute after skipper Christine Sinclair had nodded the ball on to the upright.
Perhaps what looked odd was Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller substituting superb teenager Jayde Riviere in the 75th minute for Allysha Chapman when it was blatantly obvious five-time cup veteran Sinclair, 36, was off her game.
No doubt, Heiner-Moller will have to free himself of the chains of sentimentalism if he seriously wants Canada to lift the cup from tourney contenders, such as the United States and France, especially when his players can create so many chances and only put two in the net in 90-plus minutes of play.
Damningly Sermanni again didn't inject young forager Paige Satchell to put the Ferns on the front foot.
Yanking out Sarah Gregorius for Anna Green in the 62nd minute is akin to extracting an incisor tooth when it's the molar that's causing you untold grief. It only showed his lack of faith in promising young talent and making Gregorius his scapegoat because the speedy, pint-sized striker couldn't do much when her teammates were obviously adhering to a bunker mentality policy.
The Kiwis coughed up possession just about every time they won it on defence. When they suddenly found themselves in the stock exchange they lacked the composure to do much with the ball but spit it straight back to the rampant Canadian midfield and defence.
Ultimately Sermanni must take responsibility for instilling a philosophy that leaves his players in a grip of paralysis in sitting back for a lion's share of the match.
If the prosecution needs conclusive evidence of that then Gregorius is the main exhibit.
"You simply can't play the game if you don't have the ball and the gulf between Gregorius and Rosie White was yawning, even if she did find the odd long ball, your honour," I contend to the court of cluelessness.
All the calibre players plying their trade around lucrative leagues in the world will come to nought if the blueprint isn't right. Sermanni might as well have started with another defender in Gregorius' place.
A mentor's faith in players is the ideal catalyst to drag Big Mo into one's corner in the sporting cauldron. The Footy Ferns don't seem to be too far off their Canadian or Dutch counterparts as individuals. Where they look lost is in the collective landscape and that is Sermanni's terrain.
The opening game, again, was more about the Dutch's lack of plan B to find goals than the Kiwis' perceived sense of a stellar defence in one-way, peak-hour traffic scenarios.
While goalkeeper Erin Nayler parried superbly to deny Prince a header in the 72nd minute it didn't detract from a backline defence that looks shy on high balls, especially in set pieces that even Cameroon can exploit.
I predict the world No 19 New Zealanders will beat No 46 Cameroon, not because the gulf in ranking suggests that but because they should drop any pre-match defensive ploys to employ their dormant and repressed attacking prowess, even if it means rebelling against Sermanni's game plan.
It'll be interesting because a winless Cameroon also will employ a bunker mentality to test New Zealand's offensive mettle, after holding Canada to a 1-0 win and the Dutch to 3-1.
For the record, the Americans celebrating isn't the issue but how Thailand got on to the world cup stage in the first place for a 13-0 flogging this week that boggles the mind.