Canadian women are testing the waters in Australia ahead of the 2023 FIFA World Cup

Canadian women are testing the waters in Australia ahead of the 2023 FIFA World Cup

Canada takes its first step towards the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup against host Australia in the following pairing at the United Nations.

Seventh-seeded Canada play No. 12 Australia at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday (capacity 52,263) before the two teams meet at Sydney’s newly-built Allianz Stadium (capacity 42,512) on Tuesday. .

For Canada coach Beau Priestman, this is his team’s first meeting since qualifying for the soccer showpiece, which is co-hosted by New Zealand, with a runner-up finish at the CONCACAF W Championship in July. upon arrival

While the Canadian women won’t know their exact road to the 32-team World Cup until the finals in October, the tour is a good opportunity for them to get a feel for what’s next next July.

Priestman said captain Christian Sinclair had told her he was “so glad we came” to experience the jet lag and other challenges that come with a 12,000km trip to Australia.

“I’ve been lucky enough to live in New Zealand and travel a lot around these parts of the world,” said Priestman, who worked for New Zealand Football from January 2009 to 2013. The players, it’s new for them and we’re learning strategies about sleep and everything they feel.

“That’s a big part of why we’re here. It’s different from what we’re facing … when it’s the first official step on the World Cup tour, which it is for us. Play Australia at World Cup venues. Stay in potential (tournament) hotels. I think that’s all the insights you can get that will help you.

While Australia holds a 7-6-3 all-time advantage against Canada, the Canadians have lost just two (5-2-2) in the last nine meetings and are 2-0 when the teams last met. Was – in his first match at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Australia won the last match Down Under 2-1 in Sydney in May 2008.

Priestman calls Australia “one of the best teams” to be at the World Cup.

“They have big threats,” she added. “You can’t hide from Sam Kerr but not just Sam Kerr. I think they’ve got four or five of the best players that have played in the top leagues. I think it’s going to be a tough game for us defensively. We have to be really strong for an Australian team that has proven they can score goals.”

Canada’s defense has been hit hard by Priestman’s loss to injury with Kadisha Buchanan, Alysha Chapman, Vanessa Giles, Jade Royer and Dean Rose, as well as Ashley Lawrence (personal reasons) – a list that includes all of its starting backline. It includes

Priestman admitted to having injury issues “starting to think the world is against you.”

But she pointed to the Shebelle Cup in 2021, her first game as Canada’s coach, when Gillis gets a chance to play in Buchanan’s absence. Gilles scored in his second start for Canada and is now part of Priestman’s first-choice centre-back pairing with Buchanan.

“There is a huge opportunity for anyone who steps into this field,” Priestman said.

Newcomers include 18-year-old midfielder Sammy Ojo, a University of Southern California sophomore, and 23-year-old forward Clarissa Larsey, who has scored nine goals in 27 games for Glasgow Celtic in the Scottish Women’s Premier League.

Ojo impressed at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. Canada’s captain center back Jed Rose is also in Priestman’s squad for this tournament. Gul, 19, has already won two senior caps.

Both teams have many club ties.

Kerr, the Matildas captain and star striker, and Canadian midfielder Jesse Fleming both wear Chelsea FC colors when not representing their country.

Kellen Sheridan, Canada’s No. 1 keeper, is Emily Van Egmond’s teammate on the NWSL’s San Diego Wave.

Australia’s Katrina Gowry, Charlie Grant and Claire Polkinghorne play against Canada’s goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo in Witsj√∂ Geck, Sweden. And veteran Canadian midfielder Desiree Scott and Australian Chloe Lugarzo both call the NWSL’s current Kansas City club home.

The Australian squad also includes vice-captain/defender Steph Keatley and forward Caitlin Ford (Arsenal) and defender Alana Kennedy (Manchester City).

List of Canada

Goalkeepers: Sabrina D’Angelo, Vitsj√∂ Jack (Sweden); Lysianne Proulx, SCU Torreense (Portugal); Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave FC (NWSL).

Defenders: Gabriel Karl, Kristianstads DFF (Sweden); Marie Levasseur, Fleury FC (France); Jade Rose, Markham, Ont., Harvard (NCAA); Bianca St. Georges, Chicago Red Stars (NWSL); Shelina Zadorski, Tottenham (England); Sora Yika, Le Havre AC (France).

Midfielders: Sammy Ojo, USC (NCAA); Jesse Fleming, Chelsea (England); Julia Grosso, Juventus (Italy); Quinn, OL Reign (NWSL); Sophie Schmidt, Houston Dash (NWSL); Desiree Scott, Kansas City Current (NWSL).

Forwards: Janine Beckey, Portland Thorns (NWSL); Jordyn Huitema, OL Reign (NWSL); Cloe Lacasse, SL Benfica (Portugal); Clarissa Laresse, Glasgow Celtic (Scotland); Adriana Lyon, Manchester United (England); Nichelle Prince, Houston Dish (NWWL); Christian Sinclair (Captain), Portland Thorns (NWSL).

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