For the second time is a three-day span, the Canadian women’s national team was held scoreless in an international friendly match. Monday’s contest took place against Brazil, a team ranked seventh in the world by FIFA.
This was the last scheduled contest for head coach Bev Priestman’s squad before the Olympic Games begin in Tokyo in July, and coupled with Friday’s game against Czech Republic, marked the last chance for players to impress in their effort to crack the 18-player roster that Priestman is expected to name in the next 10 days.
The Canada head coach made six changes from the team that started on Friday, with Stephanie Labbe, Jayde Riviere, Gabrielle Carle, Vanessa Gilles, Sophie Schmidt and Adriana Leon coming out of the lineup to make way for Kailen Sheridan, Allysha Chapman, Shelina Zadorsky, Qunn, Desiree Scott and Deanna Rose.
Unlike the game against the Czechs, the Brazilians did not sit back and make Canada pick them apart, as they too sought out victory in this match. This opened the game up more than the previous fixture, but once again Canada’s offence sputtered.
The Canadians had the first chance of the game in just the second minute when Deanne Rose found a wiiiiiide open Ashley Lawrence in the box, but the Paris St. Germain midfielder couldn’t get enough on the ball to trouble Brazilian keeper Barbara.
The Brazilians had their chance as well, with Kailen Sheridan tested by a long-range effort in the ninth minute that was fortunately straight at her.
Canada had a very well founded penalty shout in the 22nd minute, after a Christine Sinclair header off a corner went off of the outstretched arm of a defender, yet somehow both the referee and assistant referee missed what should have been an obvious penalty.
The chance of the game for Canada, and the save of the match, came in the 44th minute when Jessie Fleming uncorked a shot from outside the 18 that was destined to sneak under the crossbar before Barbara tipped it over.
Despite five second half substitutions by Canada and four by the Brazilians, nothing affected the scoreline, with a Jordyn Huitema header off the post the closest the deadlock came to being broken.
So for the second time in as many friendlies, the game ended 0-0.
Here’s what Priestman had to say after the game:
“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 in a press release. “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.”
Despite bringing a massive roster of 29 players into camp in Spain, just 20 players saw the pitch. With that in mind, I think it’s fair to say that keepers Sabrina D’Angelo, Erin McLeod, defender Jade Rose, mids Jordyn Listro and Sarah Stratigakis and forward Cloe Lacasse may be in tough in terms of making the Olympic roster, having not appeared in the two games. Janine Beckie of Manchester City also missed out due to injury, but if she’s fit, she’ll be on the roster.
Despite failing to find the net, the Canadians kept a clean sheet for the fourth straight game, going back to their most recent meeting with Brazil on February 24 when they lost 2-0.
Canada’s next game is scheduled for July 21, 2021 against Olympic hosts Japan, however, Priestman did hint at the potential of playing a friendly behind closed doors before then. Canada will also face Chile and Great Britain in the group stage of the Olympic games.