June 14, 2021 — Estadio Cartagonova, Cartagena, Spain
(3 pm ET/12 pm PT)
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
The Canadian women’s national team faces Brazil Monday in the program’s final tune-up match before coach Bev Priestman picks the 18-player side for the Tokyo Olympics.
Priestman said she would select the slim Olympic squad “probably within ten days” following the end of this Spain camp and, by extension, Monday’s tilt with Brazil.
A momentous and crucial occasion comes on the heels of the first match of Priestman’s two-match Olympic tune-up – a lackluster goalless draw against the Czech Republic. Canada, placed eighth in the world in the FIFA World Rankings, was expected to dispatch the 27th-ranked Czechs but the lack of clinical finishing let them down. The Canadians had 61% possession and 20 shots – but only two of them were on target. Deanne Rose had the best chance of the match in the 84th minute with a side netting-bound strike at the back post.
Seventh-ranked Brazil, meanwhile, was one of Canada’s opponents in February at the SheBelieves Cup, where Les Rouges lost 2-0. In recent memory, Canada defeated Brazil in the bronze medal match of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Priestman’s side will hope such snakebitten circumstances in front of goal vs. the Czechs don’t reoccur against the Brazilians… As it did in their SheBelieves Cup encounter. The Canadians managed only four shots on target that day against the mighty Debinha and the Brazilians.
3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR
- Chop and change: Time is of the essence for Priestman who is still trying to find her best team and lineup ahead of her seventh game in charge of Canada. Last time out she played an intriguing type of buildup play, using Nichelle Prince, Christine Sinclair, and Adriana Leon to bring their attack through the middle, slowly pushing the Czechs backward. It was a much different style to the pacy play and width Priestman used against other lower-ranked sides this year. Priestman also completely swapped out that aforementioned attacking trident, with Deanne Rose, Jordyn Huitema, and Évelyne Viens joining. Any combination of those six players could play 90+ minutes Monday and we wouldn’t be surprised.
- Tickets to Tokyo: In terms of squad selection, there are numerous players on the bubble for a spot at the Tokyo Games to watch for. Winger Adriana Leon shined vs. the Czechs following an injury and corresponding layoff from the national team. Striker Évelyne Viens, who scored against England in a big 2-0 victory this Spring, could be fighting with Jordyn Huitema for a spot behind the mighty Christine Sinclair who celebrated her 38th birthday Saturday. At the back, fullback Gabby Carle and centre back Vanessa Gillies are bidding to be on their first Olympic squad. All in all, Canada has at least 27 players who could see the pitch Monday while winger Janine Beckie, who missed the Czech match due to injury, is still unconfirmed.
- Confidence booster: Canada enters the 2020 Tokyo Olympic as back-to-back medalists. That’s a pleasant thought, isn’t it? The golden generation of talent of Sinclair, Scott, Schmidt, and others is hitting their twilight, still a year late, just in time for one more go for a medal. Under Priestman, Canada is 3-1-2 – not a bad run. But they’ll need all the momentum they can get going into Tokyo and Monday’s tilt will be their last chance at a rah-rah result (a la England) before they hit the world stage. Similarly-ranked Brazil is the perfect test. You’re only as good as your last result and, in a scant soccer schedule left shattered further by a global pandemic, you need to take advantage of matches.