Canada posts back-to-back clean sheets in final tune-up before the Tokyo Olympics
Canada finished its two-match International Friendly series having conceded zero goals in its preparations for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Canada created multiple opportunities in a 0:0 draw defending well against an aggressive Brazilian side at Estadio Cartagonova in Cartagena, Spain. Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan posted the clean sheet in her first international match since returning from injury.
“I thought it was a tremendous effort from those on the pitch. I thought they gave it absolutely everything and that we looked more dangerous, we took a step forward in that, we just didn’t score but I have to celebrate the clean sheet,” said Bev Preistman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach. “The last three games we played Brazil, it’s eight goals conceded so we have taken a step forward, we were a difficult team to beat and I think we rattled them.”
The draw came on the heels of another 0:0 draw with Czech Republic last Friday, which also took place in Cartagena, Spain. Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team is scheduled to face host Japan, Great Britain and Chile in the group phase of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament this summer.
“I think anytime we play Brazil it is a physical battle. Their front line is incredibly powerful and good with the ball so I’m incredibly proud of our defensive performance,” said centre back Shelina Zadorsky. “Front to back we pressed well, we read the triggers well and all-around I think to get a clean sheet against that Brazil side is really positive going into the Olympics. Bev has come in and reminded us that (defence) is a big part of our identity and we want to keep that because it’s what wins tournaments.”
Canada started attacking in the first few minutes of the match. In the 2’ minute, Deanne Rose sent a cross to Nichelle Prince who was able to able to find some space and fire a shot, but Brazil goalkeeper Barbara scooped the ball. In the 10’ minute, Quinn created another opportunity for Canada when they sent the ball to Prince, but Prince’s attempt was blocked by the Brazilian backline.
Brazil increased the pressure on Canada and created opportunities throughout the first half, but the Canadian backline remained solid defensively with centre back Kadeisha Buchanan making a few timely tackles.
In the 40’ minute, Prince put a dangerous cross into the box. The ball bounced around and fell to Quinn outside the box who got a left-footed shot off, but Barbara easily made the save. In the 44’ minute, Jessie Fleming fired a long shot towards the Brazilian net, forcing Barbara to tip the ball over the bar with her fingertips.
Canada kept creating opportunities in the second half. In the 49’ minute, Ashley Lawrence played a ball to Fleming whose diving headed attempt was blocked. In the 54’ minute, Quinn’s shot was blocked by the goalkeeper and went out for a corner. On the corner, Quinn again sent the ball towards the net, but it went over the bar.
In the 77’ minute, Buchanan got her head on a free kick from Adriana Leon, but the ball went wide. In the 85’, Shelina Zadorksy had one of the best opportunities of the second half, when she got a header on a corner kick, but the ball hit the post. Jordyn Huitema had a chance pop up on a deflection in injury time but her half-volley went wide of the net.
“I think we had a really strong defensive performance, I think there’s some clean ups that we need to address and get ready for Tokyo, but, I think it was a solid defensive performance, and that we’re a defensive threat,” said goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. “It feels absolutely phenomenal to be back on the field,” she added on her first start since returning from an injury at the SheBelieves Cup in February. “I didn’t think that this would be an opportunity for me but I’ve had an incredible group of people in my corner, incredible doctors, coaches, and teammates.”
Canada’s starting XI featured Kailen Sheridan in goal, Ashley Lawrence at right back, Kadeisha Buchanan and Shelina Zadorsky at centre back, Allysha Chapman at left back, and Desiree Scott, Quinn, Jessie Fleming, Nichelle Prince, Christine Sinclair, and Deanne Rose from the midfield up through to the attack. In the second half, coach Bev Priestman replaced Prince with Jordyn Huitema (46’), Quinn with Julia Grosso (60’), Rose with Adriana Leon (66’) and Sinclair with Evelyne Viens and Fleming with Sophie Schmidt (84’).
OLYMPIC MEDAL WINNERS & CONCACAF CHAMPIONS
Canada are two-time Olympic bronze medal winners (2012 and 2016) and two-time Concacaf champions (1998 and 2010). In all, Canada have participated in seven consecutive editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ (1995 to 2019) and three consecutive editions of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament (2008 to 2016). At Rio 2016, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team were the first Canadian Olympic team to win back-to-back medals at a summer Olympic Games in more than a century.
Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Youth Teams, meanwhile, have won four Concacaf youth titles: the 2004 and 2008 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, the 2010 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship, and the 2014 Concacaf Girls’ Under-15 Championship. Canada have qualified for seven editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (including a silver medal at Canada 2002) and all six editions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup (including a fourth-place finish at Uruguay 2018).
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.