Canada Confident Ahead Of Group Stage Closer Against Australia
The Canadian national team is back in Melbourne and ready to play co-hosts Australia in a game that has everything on the line. Australia needs a win to advance while Canada needs a win or a draw in a very tight group.
Christine Sinclair and Kadiesha Buchanan were not at 100%, with Buchanan suffering from a stomach bug while Sinclair seemed to have picked up a knock against Ireland – though Bev Priestman confirmed they are both available.
Earlier in the day at their final training session, the Canadian Women’s National Team got a visit from the newly appointed Sports Minister Carla Qualthrough, who wished them luck before practice.
She has replaced Pascal St Onge, who was moved in Justin Trudeau’s latest cabinet shuffle. One of the tactics used by Australia is using smoke and mirrors around Sam Kerr, who said she would be available though there was no confirmation that she was medically cleared to play.
According to an Australian journalist covering Canada for ESPN, she said the same thing before Australia played Ireland in the opening group stage game and didn’t end up playing due to her injury.
“Every game has basically prepared us for the next one,” Priestman said in her media scrum opener. “Game one was beating a block and game two was coming back and not many teams have done that in the tournament.”
Priestman spoke about the mindset of going into a game with everything on the line.
“If we go into the game with the mindset of how we played in that second half against Ireland, that will bring the best out of Canada. We will continue to grow, and we know we have the fate in our hands to come tomorrow and get a result, so I am excited.”
Priestman was bluntly asked by an Australian journalist if she wants to knock Australia out, but she didn’t take the bait.
“I want to get three points and that is all I am focusing on, to get three points and move on to the next stage. Ultimately we want to win and if we knock them out, then we knock them out.”
Canada is the current Olympic Gold medal winner while Australia is a World Cup co-host, and Priestman was asked who she thinks has more pressure.
“I think pressure is everything that you need. I don’t think our camp feels tense, it’s a World Cup match and there never is an easy game. Pressure is what you need.”
Canada played Australia twice last September and won both games. Priestman was asked if she went back to watch those games to build a game plan.
“They are familiar opposition,” Sophie Schmidt said when responding to the question. “It’s a tournament and you can’t take anything away from those wins, but we know it’s going to be a fight tomorrow. They are fighting for their lives and it’s going to be fun and exciting, we are ready for it.”
Priestman also gave her sense of what to expect and she thinks it won’t be the same team they faced last time.
“I think they tactically evolved. Coming into the tournament they looked better and we know it’s going to be a difficult game. I don’t think it’s as easy as relying on two friendlies.”
The permutations for the group are pretty complex, but for Canada they either need a win or a draw to advance while Australia need a win or the co-hosts will find themselves eliminated.
Header Image Photo Credit: Audrey Magny / Canada Soccer