They weren’t the prettiest goals, but they counted just the same.
Evelyne Viens and Nichelle Prince took advantage of England errors as Canada slayed the Lionesses on Tuesday afternoon for their first win against a top-20 side in two years.
Canada got off to a quick start, as it took Evelyne Viens just three minutes to find the back of the net, her second goal in two games, after scoring her first international goal on Friday.
Despite being offside for the initial pass, an error from Demi Stokes played her onside. Stokes took a touch toward her own goal, but Viens was too strong, pushing her off the ball and chipping a shot over Carly Telford.
Canada’s game plan in this match seemed to be prioritizing strong defending, and they executed that plan very well for the most part. They did a great job of keeping the ball in England’s half of the pitch, and intercepting passes when England tried to break them down.
Canada weren’t creating a ton of chances, a common theme over the past few years for this team, so capitalizing on the ones they get is crucial, as Viens did. England had a similar problem, as their best chance of the first half came on a free kick from Jordan Nobbs, but her effort hit the woodwork.
The second half was a lot like the first — both sides were solid defensively, but neither were having any luck going forward. Canada seemed happy to let England have the ball, almost inviting pressure, but didn’t crack, as Stephanie Labbé and her defenders kept a second straight clean sheet.
Canada doubled their lead in the final moments of the match, as substitute Nichelle Prince took advantage of another error by England at the back. Millie Bright played a heavy pass back to substitute goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who couldn’t clear the ball quick enough.
Prince came charging in, and slide tackled the ball into the net.
With five goals, two clean sheets and two wins in this international break, Bev Priestman must be very pleased with what she saw.
Several players stepped up over the past 180 or so minutes, and will give her some big decisions to make ahead of the Olympics this summer, which is precisely what these matches were meant to do.