Canada vs. New Zealand — Women’s International Friendly
October 26, 2021, at 7:30 pm ET
Stade Saputo in Montreal, Quebec
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After a dominating 5-1 victory over New Zealand to open their gold medal celebration tour in Ottawa on Saturday, the Canadian women’s national team are back in action on Tuesday night in Montreal.
Facing the Football Ferns again, although this time at Stade Saputo, Canada will continue to honour the players and staff who went to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with the lofty goal of “changing the colour of the medal” after back-to-back bronzes — and returned home with the ultimate prize.
On Saturday in Ottawa, two impressive halves of attacking football saw Canada score five goals — just one goal less than their total tally for the entire Olympic competition. Jessie Fleming scored from the penalty spot to score Canada’s first goal — as she did multiple times in Tokyo this summer — before Christine Sinclair scored her 188th international goal just before half time. After New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Naylor spilled the ball in the penalty area, Sinclair was first to it and lobbed a shot into the back of the net.
After the break, Adriana Leon scored twice and Nichelle Prince added another as Canada ran away with the match. Ria Percival also scored from the penalty spot, picking up the lone goal for the visitors in the second half.
Both sides will have a second chance to build on their first post-Olympics performance in Montreal on Tuesday night. The home side will also look to keep up their momentum on and off the pitch in the leadup to the 2023 World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by the visitors from New Zealand, with other matches also taking place in Australia.
Bev Priestman said after the last match that her Canada side are “on that journey to the World Cup” — a journey that continues on Tuesday.
RELATED READING: Match Analysis: CanWNT 5-1 New Zealand || RHODES: Sitting amongst the fans for CanWNT celebration tour was something very special
3 THINGS TO WATCH:
- Janine Beckie stands out at right back on Saturday: Janine Beckie has mostly played in an attacking role for Canada, but with Ashley Lawrence missing out with an injury, Bev Priestman opted to play the Manchester City star at right back. She’s often played in that role for club, and certainly didn’t look out of place there on Saturday. The move also allowed Canada to get another attacker on the field (Deanne Rose on Saturday), which led to an onslaught of scoring chances down the right flank. She was credited with two assists in the match, but had a part to play in each of Canada’s goal. It may be an option Priestman explores more going forward, or it may be a one-time switch while Lawrence is out of the team, but it appears to work. Priestman may start Beckie there again on Tuesday, or Jayde Riviere could be given a shot after being an unused substitute on Saturday.
- New Zealand ‘need to really fix’ defence: New Zealand’s defenders struggled to hold off Canada’s clinical attack on Saturday in Ottawa, conceding five goals and allowing 24 shots (11 on target). Individual errors directly led to multiple goals, especially the first two — a penalty that Jessie Fleming converted, and a spill from goalkeeper Erin Naylor that Christine Sinclair took full advantage of. Cutting those errors will have been a priority for them between the two matches. “Today was a tough day, a tough game for us, we can see the Canadian team [was] playing with a lot of confidence. But look, we still have a game to go in this tour and we want to build on the good things that we’ve done,” said head coach Jitka Klimková after Saturday’s match. “I could see a lot of positives in this game and that’s what we are going to build on. We want to keep the ball, we want to possess, and I could see good moments in the game and that’s what we are going to build on in our attack. Defensively, we need to really fix our shape, we need to fix our individual defending as well and I believe the game on Tuesday is going to be even more competitive.”
- Canada’s confidence high after dominant win: There were a lot of emotions at TD Place as Canada played their first match after winning Olympic gold, but on the field specifically it could have gone one of two ways. Canada could been timid and felt the pressure of such an occasion, or they could have embraced it and played with the confidence that they the best team in the world. They were the latter — dominating the match from start to finish, and were rewarded with a 5-1 victory. The team with the gold letters on the back of their kits completed 84% of their 520 passes, and nearly scored the same number of goals as in the entirety of their run at Tokyo 2020. They should have even more momentum on Tuesday, although New Zealand will also be eager to avenge their defeat.
Canada wins: 9 || New Zealand wins: 1 || Draws: 4
October 23, 2021 — Canada 5-1 New Zealand
“For me, it feels like we’re taking a big step forward. I think that gold medal has given this group a whole host of confidence. I’ve seen some unbelievable performances from individuals and then the shared mindset to take that step forward towards the World Cup, that’s what this group are. I’m just really privileged and proud to coach this group because they’ll respond whenever you ask them and you set them a challenge. They did that for the work for the Olympics, now we’re on that journey to the World Cup.” — Canada head coach Bev Priestman