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Canada Ready For Another Physical Battle Against Ireland

By on July 25, 2023 0 483 Views

The scene has officially shifted from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne over two thousand kilometers away to Perth, the capital of Western Australia.

Canada met the media earlier today on MD-1 at the Perth Rectangular Stadium before heading to the WA State Football Centre in Welshpool, just 20 minutes away from the stadium.

It was originally scheduled that the media would speak to Kadeisha Buchanan, but Bev Priestman confirmed after practice she had suffered an undisclosed illness and hopes she will be able to play tomorrow.

Canada Women's National Team 2023
Canada opened its Women’s World Cup campaign against Nigeria. (Photo Credit: Audrey Magny / Canada Soccer)

We also had a chance to speak with Ashley Lawrence to tee up the game against Ireland.

“I think what we see from Ireland is everything we scouted before the tournament,” Priestman said. “When we saw them play we see their shape, their resilience, and the mindset to do whatever it takes not to concede.”

“They are a team full of heart, spirit, and passion,” she added. “It’s going to make for a great game and when we get tested like that you often see the best in our team.”

Jesse Fleming once again practiced with the team, but had a black tape or strap around her calf – though Priestman did give an update on her status.

“In regards to Jesse, she fully trained yesterday and we have one more today, but I expect her to be available.”

The weather in Perth is a bit warmer than Melbourne, but gray and rainy. Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday night but Priestman believes it doesn’t alter their plans.

“It will allow us to move the ball and I don’t really think it will change a lot.”

Once again Canada will face a physical team in Ireland. I asked Priestman what they need to do to counteract that physicality.

“I think we need to match it. We need to match that heart. They are a hard team to play against, and I think it’s a two-way street, but ultimately we need to stick to the process.”

Canada Women's Ashley Lawrence
Photo Credit: Audrey Magny / Canada Soccer

Ashley Lawrence was asked about the offense only scoring two goals in their last five games and what needs to be done to get the offense going.

“I think that we need to continue to play the way we are,” Lawrence said. “We have created opportunities that have gotten us into the final third and we do have the players with the ability to put the ball into the back of the net, so it’s more believing in our style.”

Sophie Schmidt said after the opener against Nigeria that there was a bit of frustration with the team, and Lawrence was asked about how the squad has dealt with that over the last couple of days.

“After the game, there were initial emotions and frustrations throughout the team because we hold ourselves to high standards and we know we can score goals and have the players to do it. We know we need to switch to the next game and focus on the preparation for it.”

One of the players to watch out for on Ireland is Katie McCabe, and Lawrence was asked about the potential matchup.

“We prepared for Ireland and their physicality. I think we are going into this game like any game and it’s a World Cup so everyone will be fighting for every ball and we know we have to be ready and we are going to match it.”

After practice the media got to speak with Jayde Riviere and Jordyn Huitema, and I was able to ask both of them how they plan to counteract the physicality that Ireland brings.

“Ireland is a physical team,” Riviere concurred. “It’s nothing new to us, and part of our Canadian DNA is to be gritty and not get bossed around. We shouldn’t have that issue against Ireland.”

Huitema offered the same perspective when I asked her the same question.

“I welcome physicality and I enjoy it as a player, so I am not nervous about it. I think we are a very physical team and in general very aggressive so it’s going to be a good matchup.”

Header Image Photo Credit: Audrey Magny / Canada Soccer

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