Canada Suffers Defeat In Final SheBelieves Cup Match Against Japan
The Canadian women’s national team was hoping to finish the window on a high, but things didn’t go their way.
On Wednesday afternoon in Frisco, Texas, Canada faced Japan in their third game at the SheBelieves Cup hoping to finish strong – but it wasn’t meant to be.
Japan opened the scoring in the 26th minute as Kiko Seike got a solid pass from Rikako Kobayashi and managed to shoot the ball under the shoulder of Sabrina D’Angelo, who got the start in net.
Unfortunately, that is where the game ended for D’Angelo: after Seike slid into her, she needed to be helped off the field by the trainers. Kailen Sheridan was substituted to replace the injured keeper.
In the 41st minute, Japan earned a penalty after Kadeisha Buchanan took down Jun Endo in the box and Yui Hasegawa converted from the spot to double Japan’s lead.
The score would stay unchanged until the 77th minute, when the Japanese sealed the win. Jun Endo got a great feed from Hinata Miyazawa to beat Sheridan from just inside the box.
After the match, Bev Priestman was very realistic with the result and says it wasn’t a good day for them.
“For us, it was a bad day at the office,” she said. “It probably reflects the [tournament]… I think it shows where the group are at: emotionally, physically exhausted. I thought we were very flat today, which is really difficult as a coach. Because you know what they can do.”
Canada was coming off a very solid performance against Brazil that saw them win 2-0 and was looking to gain momentum, but was stopped right in their tracks.
“I don’t mind losing as long as we learn from it and take this moment and move forward going into April,” added Priestman.
While they are scheduled to face France, it is yet to be known what will happen given that the team stated if their labour demands are not meant they will be in a legal position to strike.
The team for two games looked completely out of it and mentioned they would play the tournament in protest after being forced back onto the pitch under threat of legal action by Canada Soccer.
“I don’t think what you saw out there was a Canadian performance,” Priestman said bluntly. “I don’t think I’ve felt like this as a coach for the two games [against the U.S. and Japan] that I have ever in this tournament, ever in my time [in charge].”
The team wore purple wristbands which caught as the US, Ireland, and Australia did the same in support of gender equality. The team also wore purple shirts with the statement ‘Enough is Enough’.
“The equal pay issue is out of my hands and that’s the tough part,” said Priestman. “But what I can control is getting us back to the basics. I can only control what happens on a football pitch… The off-the-pitch part’s there. I can’t hide from it.”
“But I know that the group, myself, and Canada Soccer – especially after this tournament – will be looking to do everything they can to make sure we turn up for April how we left off in 2022, which was a five-game unbeaten streak and almost six, other than a 93rd-minute [goal in a 2-1 loss to Brazil] at the back-end of the year.”
“You look at the two contrasts and that doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve got to get back to work and be clear where we’re going.”
The US went on to win the tournament after securing a 2-1 win over Brazil.