Canadian women look to extend 4-game win streak in 2-match series in Brazil

Canada kicked off the first of two international friendlies against a familiar foe in Brazil on Friday, boosted by the return of captains Kristin Sinclair and Ashley Lawrence.

The seventh-ranked Canadian women first take on ninth-ranked Brazil in Santos ahead of Tuesday’s comeback in Sao Paulo.

Canada is 8-9-9 against Brazil since their first meeting in 1996.

Their most recent meeting was at the Tokyo Olympics, where the Canadiens won 4-3 on penalties after a 0-0 quarter-final finish.

“I think they’ve evolved since the Olympics,” coach Bev Priestman said Thursday. “I remember that game was not the most exciting one. I think you have two tired teams…I do think they add legs to the team.”

“It’s going to represent what we’ve been seeing in Brazil, it’s a very tough game,” she added. “They’ve been great in transition. We’re going to have all our standards and habits to be brave on both defensively and offensively to unlock them and try to hurt them.”

Canada also beat Brazil 2-1 in the bronze medal match at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Priestman is missing players again.

Janine Beckie (Portland), Vanessa Gilles (Olympique Lyonnais, France), Deanne Rose (Reading, England), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash) and college players Simi Awujo and Zoe Burns (USC), Jade Rose (Harvard) and Jayde Riviere (University of Michigan) is unavailable.

The Canadian women’s soccer team has won four straight on a trip to Brazil.

But Sinclair, Lawrence and Gabriel Carr, missing in the October window, returned to the squad for the Brazil game with 4-0 victories over No. 29 Morocco and 2-0 against No. 76 Argentina.

Sinclair, 39, and Lawrence, 27, have a combined 428 Canadian national team caps.

“You’re definitely going to see these two,” Priestman said. “I think there may be six or eight games left before the World Cup. You look at these two players, they are a big part of the success of this team.

“I felt the impact of both of them very quickly[in training]. Ashley looked fresh and looked ready. Kristin not only brought technical standards to the midfield, but also leadership Power — and honestly, calm. She’s experienced, and I think that makes other people around her feel that way as well.”

Canada and Brazil have both qualified for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Canada is tied in Group B with Australia 13th, Ireland 24th and Nigeria 45th.

Deanne Rose and Chapman are still injured, while Gilles is just coming back from injury. Becky is taking a “planned break” after a long season that started with Manchester City and ended with the Portland Thorns.

Missing college players have school commitments.

With places in place, Priestman called up three members of Canada’s under-17 team.

This is the first senior call for guard Ella Ottey and forwards Amanda Allen and Annabelle Chukwu. All three were among Canada’s top performers at the recent FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India, where the young Canadian failed to advance to the knockout stage with a 0-1-2 scoreline in billiards.

“It was really an exposure and an opportunity to see how they fit into the group. I would say they didn’t look out of place at all,” Priestman said.

Priestman’s team is 10-2-3 this year, losing to the top-ranked Americans (1-0) in the CONCACAF W Championship final in Mexico in July and finishing 6th in England’s Arnold Clark Cup Spain in February.

The Canadians won twice (1-0 and 2-1) in Australia in September.

Priestman noted that Canadian women will be on teams from all continents in 2022.

“I don’t know if this is a thing of the past,” she said. “We are also targeting more European opposition because they are in the World Cup.”

“So I think (the) Australia (series) and this Brazil test is what we need,” she added.

The Canadian women will not be back in the Arnold Clark Cup in February, with Italy 14th, South Korea 17th and Belgium 20th, and will join hosts England in fourth.

Priestman said she is looking for different objections during the February window.

The Canadian man, No. 41 in the world, will also play on Friday, taking on No. 85 Bahrain in Mamama. John Hedman does not have a full squad for the pre-World Cup warm-up and European clubs are still in the action.


Goalkeepers: Sabrina D’Angelo, Vittsjo GIK (Sweden); Lysianne Proulx, SCU Torreense (Portugal); Kailen Sheridan, Santiago Waves (NWSL).

Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan, Chelsea (England); Gabrielle Carle, Kristianstads DFF (Sweden); Ashley Lawrence, Paris Saint-Germain (France); Marie Levasseur, Fleury FC (France); Ella Ottey, Ontario National Development Centre; Bianca St George, Chicago Red Stars (NWSL); Sura Yekka, Le Havre AC (France); Shelina Zadorsky, Tottenham Hotspur (England).

Midfielders: Jesse Fleming, Chelsea (England); Julia Grosso, Juventus (Italy); Quinn, OL Reign (NWSL); Sophie Schmidt, Houston Sprint (NWSL); Desiree Scott , Kansas City Current (NWSL); Kristin Sinclair (Captain), Portland Thorns (NWSL).

Forwards: Amanda Allen, Ontario National Development Centre; Annabelle Chukwu, Ontario National Development Centre; Jordyn Huitema, OL Reign (NWSL); Cloe Lacasse, Benfica (Portugal); Clarissa Lacasse Lissie, Glasgow Celtic (Scotland); Adriana Leon, Manchester United (England); Nichelle Prince, Houston Sprint (NWSL); Evelyne Viens, Kristianstads DFF (Sweden).


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Neil Davidson, Canadian Press

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