This week, we travel around the world and look at some key internationals during the recent FIFA international window that took place earlier this month, starting with the three UEFA Women's EUROS Play-ins for the three remaining spots in next summer's European Championship Finals in England.
We also review the two final Olympic Games spots up for grabs—one in Asia between Korea Republic and China and the other between Cameroon and Chile in the Intercontinental Play-in (CONMEBOL vs. CAF). We also look at a number of high profile friendlies (including team rosters), with the U.S., Canada and Mexico all playing in Europe.
Women's EURO Play-ins—April 9/April 13
Northern Ireland (4-1 on aggregate over Ukraine), Switzerland (2-2 on aggregate and advancing 3-2 on penalty kicks over the Czech Republic) and Russia (1-0 on aggregate against Portugal) all took the final three spots available at next summer's EURO Finals in England (delayed a year from 2021 due to COVID). The three winners will advance to the July 2022 Finals to join hosts England as well as the nine qualifying group winners and the three runners-up that had already qualified directly from Group play: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, holders the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.
Northern Ireland was ranked by many as the least likely of the six to qualify—having already advanced further than ever before in a EUROS or Women's World Cup qualifying competition. The Irish shocked Ukraine 2-1 in the first away leg in Kovalivka—a village of 1,500 people that is 52 miles drive from Kyiv—with an early goal from Liverpool's Rachel Furness in the 5th minute to give the visitors an ideal start. Daria Apansahchenko (34) of Zhytlobud-1, after playing for years with Zvezda Perm in Russia, scored just before the half-time break. Simon Magill (Everton) restored the advantage for the Irish on a fast break out of midfield in the 57th minute and the score remained 2-1 for Northern Ireland until the end, giving the visitors two critical away goals in case of a deadlock on aggregate after the second leg. Furness broke her ankle in the match and had to leave the game before halftime. Back in Belfast at Seaview Stadium, the away goals rule never looked like it was needed as the game went on; the Irish used second half goals from team captain Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville) and Nadene Caldwell (Glentoran)—the latter's goal coming in the 6th minute of second half injury time—to give the Irish their first ever berth at a major finals. Sarah McFadden (Durham Ladies, currently in second place in England's Championship) was harshly taken down in the 87th minute as she was heading towards goal out of midfield by Natiya Pantsulaya (Zhytlobud-2, after transferring from Atletico Madrid), earning the Ukrainian midfielder a straight red card and effectively ending any chance of Ukraine staging a late comeback.
Marissa Callaghan (second left) celebrates her first goal in the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 play-off match second leg against Ukraine in Belfast on April 13, 2021. (Photo Courtesy: Northern Ireland Football Federation).
Northern Ireland head coach Kenny Shiels said after the second match, "I was as nervous as a kitten today. What happens if we don't do it [advance to the Finals]?....We shut their spaces down. It was excellent the way we did that…If you look at the pace of the 90 minutes, if they don't score two, we go through. They didn't have a chance in the whole night. That's testament to how we defended as groups within the team. I have to say I can't believe we've beaten a nation the size of Ukraine. It goes down in my book as the best ever sporting achievement of any sporting team or individual in the U.K [for women especially]…They are fantastic girls, they are so proud to wear the shirt. I was so pleased for them, I really was. This is no exaggeration; we could have a film about this achievement. It would be so eventful—there would be ups and downs, getting beat 6-0 [twice by Norway in the Group Stage]. We have won six [UEFA] matches in a row right now [excluding a 6-0 away friendly defeat to England in February]. It's amazing. I can't believe the transformation of the outcomes. It has been incredible."
Don't sign any movie contracts yet, coach Shiels, as I believe there is still some exciting and dramatic script to write between now and the end of the Women's EURO next summer. The incredible ride of the Northern Irish team continues and TribalFootball.com will continue to cover this remarkable team.
Northern Ireland did have the best draw in March by UEFA with Ukraine and the fact that none of the six teams were seeded helped, plus for political reasons, Ukraine and Russia who originally drawn together were then separated. Ukraine was rated 24th in the FIFA ranking while Northern Ireland was 49th at the time of the draw—this week Ukraine was 31st and Northern Ireland at 48th—amazingly one place behind Papua New Guinea of Oceania, which will undoubtedly change for the next edition. The Irish are now 2-0-2 all-time against Ukraine, after a 2-1 defeat in the 2018 Turkish Women's Cup and a 4-0 loss at the Pinatar Cup in Spain in March of 2020.
Northern Ireland's advancement was such a surprise to many because 15 of the 23 players selected are based at home or are currently without a club in the domestic league, which has not yet begun its 2021 season [it will kickoff the last week of April], with only five being full professionals in England's WSL. I think the story here is that head coach Kenny Shiels and his coaching staff have galvanized a talented group of local players mixed with a few stars from England—notably Furness and Magill—to mold a team that attacks and is not afraid of opponents. They will have massive support from Irish ex-pats in England as well as visitors ferrying across the sea and should not be written off. This tournament should provide a great shopping window for full-time clubs in other countries looking for talent. Whatever happens in England, Northern Ireland's qualification is a massive boost to the women's game at home.
The Northern Ireland team for the EURO WOMEN'S Playoffs included:
Jackie Burns (Glentoran Women)
Becky Flaherty (Sheffield United Women, ENG)
Ashley Hutton (Linfield Ladies)
Kelsie Burrows (Linfield Ladies)
Toni-Leigh Finnegan (Cliftonville Ladies)
Julie Nelson (Crusaders Strikers)
Rebecca Holloway (Birmingham City Women, ENG)
Laura Rafferty (Bristol City Women, ENG)
Emma McMaster (Glentoran Women)
Nadene Caldwell (Glentoran Women)
Samantha Kelly (Glentoran Women)
Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville Ladies)
Rachel Furness (Liverpool Ladies, ENG)
Chloe McCarron (Birmingham City Women, ENG)
Sarah McFadden (Durham Ladies, ENG)
Ciara Watling (Charlton Athletic Women, ENG)
Rebecca McKenna (Linfield Ladies)
Louise McDaniel (Unattached)
Kerry Beattie (Glentoran Women)
Danielle Maxwell (Glentoran Women)
Simone Magill (Everton Women, ENG)
Emily Wilson (Crusaders Strikers)
Kirsty McGuinness (Sion Swifts Ladies)
The other two Women's EURO ties were much closer, with Russia needing only a single goal by Nelli Korovkina (31) of Lokomotive Moscow in the 51st minute from the first away leg in Portugal on April 9 to advance. Portugal attacked in the away leg in Moscow on April 13 with nine total shots (to 12 for Russia) and four shots on goal (to five for Russia) but the Russians held on for their second consecutive clean sheet by Elvira Todua (35) of CSKA Moscow. Russia qualified for the Finals for the sixth time in seven events since 1997, but has never progressed past the group stage, having won only onc game (with three ties) in 15 matches. Portugal qualified for the 2017 Women EURO Finals for the first time.
The last match between seasoned Switzerland and the Czech Republic came down to penalties and the Czech Republic will rue their misses in the penalty kick session to decide who would advance to the Finals in England, as they had an early lead after Switzerland missed their first two penalty shots. In the first leg in Chomutov, Kateroma Svitkova (who has 3 goals in 14 matches this season for West Ham United in the FA WSL) scored from the penalty spot in the 49th minute before Swiss veteran forward Ana-Marie Crnogorcevic (in her second year at Barcelona after transferring from the Portland Thorns of the NWSL after the 2019 season) scored from the penalty spot in the 90th minute. In the second leg on April 13 in Thun, Svitkova scored first again, in the 51st minute, but Coumba Sow (Paris FC) tied the match for the Swiss in the 59th minute. In the penalty kicks after a scoreless 30 minutes of extra-time, Switzerland went first and had one shot saved before Sow put her attempt over the crossbar; the Czechs led 1-0 after two shots each and 2-1 after three but then collapsed with Swiss goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann—who is currently at Servette after years playing for clubs in Italy and Germany—tipping Lucie Martinkova's (Sparta Prague) shot onto the crossbar and it bounced away in the fourth round. Crnogorcevic gave the Swiss a 3-2 advantage with her fifth kick and Svitkova blasted her shot onto the edge of the post and crossbar and away for the win. Switzerland thus made their second consecutive EUROS Finals and also made the 2015 WWC, advancing to the Round of 16, but failed to make the 2019 tournament in France after defeating Belgium 3-3 on away goals in the play-off semifinals before losing to eventual Women's World Cup runners-up Netherlands 4-1 on aggregate in the playoff final. This was the Czech's fifth time in the European Champions playoffs since 1997—but first since 2009—and they have never advanced to the Finals.
The fact that Central/Eastern Europe included three of the six Play-in sides is another positive step for women's football in the region. The Czech Republic will rue their narrow miss of a Finals spot for some time, but this is a talented team led by the dangerous Svitkova in attack and goalkeeper Barbora Votikova (24) of Slavia Prague particularly impressive. Votikova is a social media sensation at home, with approximately half a million followers on her YouTube channel and on Instagram. I predict we will soon see her playing for a big club in Europe or elsewhere. Ukraine will learn from their defeat but they ran into a well-coached Northern Ireland side whose players grabbed the chance to prove the doubters wrong. Poland's friendly against Sweden (see below) is another positive sign for the region's women's football development and there should be an Eastern/Central European presence at the expanded Women's World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.
Chile and China advance to the Tokyo Olympics
China went to the Korea Republic on April 8 for the first leg of their AFC region Olympic Qualifying semifinal, which had been delayed by over a year because of COVID-19, with the winner advancing to the finals this summer in Japan. They left Korea Republic with a 2-1 advantage and then tied the Taegeuk Ladies 2-2 at home to advance 4-3 on aggregate after extra time. Wang Shuang (26) scored the winner for the Steel Roses in the 104th minute after assisting on the aggregate tying goal in the 69th minute by Yang Man in the second leg. Wang currently plays at Wuhan Jianghan University and scored 7 goals in 18 games for Paris Saint-Germain in the 2018-19 season. Wang also scored the winner in the first leg from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute in Goyang. Wang told FIFA.com after the match, "Now we are in the Olympics. It was down to the team's collective efforts. If you ask me to single out a player of the match, I would say every one of us played a key role and each of us did what we could in helping the team through. We chased every ball in attack and got stuck-in defensively. The entire team strove throughout the two legs to live up to the expectations. Thanks should go to my team-mates and the coaching staff, as well as the fans for their consistent support." China was runners-up at the 1996 Olympic Games—the first time that women's football was held at the Games—and made the quarterfinals in 2016 in Brazil. They have only missed one of the previous six tournaments—in 2012 in London.
In the inter-Confederation playoff between CONMEBOL and CAF continental runners-up for a final spot, Cameroon and Chile also faced difficulties earlier this year in scheduling their games in each country because of COVID-19, so the two games were held in Turkey. Chile won the first leg as the away team 2-1 and then held dangerous Cameroon scoreless in their home leg, for which a single goal for the CAF power would have eliminated them on away goals.
Chile lines up ahead of the final Intercontinental Play-In Series in Turkey for the 2022 Olympics in Tokyo against Cameroon. Photo Courtesy of FIFA.
The goals in the first leg came from Chile's central defensive pairing of Camila Saez and Carla Guerrero (both of Rayo Vallecano of Spain) to give their side a 2-0 advantage but Atletico Madrid striker Ajara Nchout Njoya cut the difference in half to keep her team alive. The finalists in women's football this summer in Japan are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China PR, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, USA and Zambia.
U.S. Ties Sweden, Defeats France on European Tour
Off to a strong start in 2021 with a 5-0-0 record and a championship title from the 2021 SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, the number one ranked (by FIFA) U.S. women's national team faced number five ranked Sweden at Friends Arena in Stockholm on April 10, unfortunately held without fans because of COVID-19 protocols. Sweden took the lead in the 38th minute when Lina Hurtig headed the ball into the net from a Kosovare Asllani corner kick. The Swedes had two chances to add to their lead and couldn't capitalize -- first when U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher stopped Fridolina Rolfö's breakaway at the end of the first half and then when Sofia Jakobsson rounded Naeher with the goal wide open in the 54th minute. The U.S. needed a late Megan Rapinoe penalty in the 87th minute, after Kelly O'Hara was deemed to be pulled down just inside the box by Jakobsson—which was a questionable decision by Finnish referee Lina Lehtovaara—to finish with the flattering 1-1 tie.
Sweden was by far the better team and the tie ended the American's 16-game winning streak—their third longest in its history—since Vlatko Andonovski took charge in November of 2019. Rapinoe's late goal preserved the USA's unbeaten streak at 38 games. U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski was pleased with the competition they faced but not the effort from his side, "It's something that was very good for us. That's why we came here. We came here to play good teams, we came here to get exposed to different tactics, high-level tactics, organized teams and to try to overcome all of that….If we play the way we played today, it's not good enough. And I know that. Nobody has to tell me that."
A highlight of the match against Sweden was that U.S. forward Carli Lloyd earned her 300th international cap. Only two players—men or women—have played 300 international matches and both are Lloyd's former teammates, Kristine Lilly (354) and Christie Pearce Rampone (311). Lloyd debuted in 2005 and this is her 17th year of international competition. She has appeared for the USA in three different decades, at four World Cups and in three Olympic Games. Not only has her longevity been truly remarkable, but her production has been superb as well. Her 124 career goals are fourth all-time in U.S. history and her 62 career assists are sixth all-time.
The roster for the trip is as follows:
USWNT TRIP TO SWEDEN AND FRANCE ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 67)
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA; 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 65/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 28/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 109/24), Kelley O'Hara (Washington Spirit; 134/2), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 6/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 182/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 51/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 108/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 91/20), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 51/14), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 21/4), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City, ENG; 70/21), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 16/0)
FORWARDS (6):Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 299/124), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 173/108), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 142/60), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 173/57), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 3/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 33/10)
Goalkeeper Casey Murphy is the only uncapped player on the roster. Every other player has been on at least one match day roster already in 2021.
Andonovski selected the same team as the original team he picked for the SheBelieves Cup. It included Alana Cook, who was later replaced for the Orlando tournament by Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars, who was not on the European trip roster) after Cook's French club, Paris St. Germain, chose not to release her, citing FIFA's COVID-19 release policies. Catarina Macario was a late scratch this time due to the COVID-19 outbreak affecting Olympique Lyon, having to quarantine with her club side. Andonovski explained, "While Cat has not tested positive, she is currently in the required quarantine period, and by the time she is able meet those requirements, travel to Sweden, and go through our COVID protocols, it would be right before the first game, and she wouldn't have trained for a solid 10 days. We only have a few trainings during this trip, so we felt it was in Cat's best interest for her to remain in Lyon and make sure she ramps her fitness back up with her club once her quarantine ends." Macario is favored by many pundits to make the 18 player Olympic Games Finals squad, but she is running out of time to impress with the national squad. Andonovski could take her for the experience, thinking ahead to the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where she could be a leading figure. Washington Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan was previously added to the travel roster, to complete the 23 player lineup.
Andonovski named Krueger as one of several contenders for spots on the 2021 U.S. Olympic team who are unavailable due to injuries. The others are two-time world champion Tobin Heath (Manchester United in England) and Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars). He also mentioned veterans Ashlyn Harris (goalkeeper) and Ali Krieger (defender), who play for the Orlando Pride and have both won two WWC winners medals from 2015 and 2019, as still in the running for Tokyo.
For Sweden, head coach Peter Gerhardsson used a team with 14 home-based players and 11 playing elsewhere in Europe, with four in Germany, three in England and two each in Italy and Spain.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jennifer Falk (BK Häcken FF), Emma Holmgren (Eskilstuna United), Zecira Musovic (Chelsea FC, ENG)
DEFENDERS (9): Jonna Andersson (Chelsea FC, ENG), Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea FC, ENG), Nilla Fischer (Linköpings FC), Hanna Glas (FC Bayern Munich, GER), Amanda Ilestedt (FC Bayern Munich, GER), Emma Kullberg (BK Häcken FF), Josefine Rybrink (Kristianstads DFF), Linda Sembrant (Juventus FC, ITA), Jessica Wik (FC Rosengärd)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Filippa Angeldal (BK Häcken FF), Kosovare Asllani (Real Madrid, ESP), Hanna Bennison (FC Rosengärd), Filippa Curmark (BK Häcken FF), Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (BK Häcken FF), Olivia Schough (FC Rosengärd), Carolina Seger (FC Rosengärd)
FORWARDS (6): Stina Blackstenius (BK Häcken FF), Rebecka Blomqvist (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), Lina Hurtig (Juventus FC, ITA), Sofia Jakobsson (Real Madrid, ESP), Madelen Janogy (Hammarby), Fridolina Rolfö (VfL Wolfsburg, GER)
Goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl (Atletico Madrid in Spain), a finalist for the 2020 FIFA Best Goalkeeper of the Year, was originally named to the roster but was later ruled out due to COVID contact tracing at her club,
Carolina Seger was just three caps away after the U.S. game to become the all-time leader in international appearances for her country. Therese Sjögran, who played for Sweden for 19 years, has career 214 caps and is the current leader; the now retired Sjogran played mostly with Malmo/Rosengard at home but spent a year in WPS with Sky Blue FC in 2011.
Note: as we mentioned above in the UEFA Women's EURO portion, Poland played very well against Sweden in Lodz on April 13 after the Sweden-U.S. game. Ewa Pajor (24) of Wolfsburg in Germany gave her side the lead in the 26th minute. A pair of goals by Stina Blackstenius (Hacken) gave the Swede's the advantage by half-time but Pajor tied the game three minutes into the second half. Carolina Seger (Rosengard) and Lina Hurtig (Juventus) scored goals after the 85 minute mark for the final advantage for Sweden but Poland played quite well. After narrowly missing out on a playoff spot for the Women's EURO 2022 from Group D behind winners Spain and the Czech Republic and holding Spain to a 0-0 home draw to open Group play, they should feel good about their chances to compete well for a spot in the 2023 Women's World Cup Finals in a little over two years' time.
The U.S. then traveled to the Stade Oceane in Le Havre to meet France on April 13. The last time the USA lost to France was in January 2019 by a 3-1 scoreline at the same stadium. This time, the Americans came away with a 2-0 victory from two early goals from Megan Rapinoe in the fifth minute (her second successful penalty shot in two games) after Alex Morgan was taken down in the box when Aissatou Tounkara stepped on her foot, followed by Morgan scoring tin the 19th minute. The American outshot France 16-3 on the night (7-1 for shots on goal). The U.S. lineup against France featured four changes from the starting XI that took on Sweden the weekend before in Stockholm: Abby Dahlkemper replaced Tierna Davidson at center back, Samantha Mewis replaced Lindsey Horan in the midfield, and Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe started at forward in place of Carli Lloyd and Lynn Williams.
France had to scramble with roster planning after five players from Olympique Lyonnais tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a UEFA Women's Champions League match against PSG, postponing the second leg. France head coach Corrine Diacre had named her 25-player squad at the start of the month and had to play without several top players due to a COVID outbreak at Lyon, with Wendie Renard, Griedge Mbock, Sakina Karchaoui, Amandine Henry, Amel Majri and Delphine Cascarino all ruled out. France did defeat England 3-1 in Caen on April 9, on goals by Sandy Baltimore (PSG), Viviane Asseyi (Bayern Munich, where she had 8 goals in 12 games this season) from the penalty spot and Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG). It was a tough four days for England, who went home and promptly lost 2-0 to Canada (see below).
France had 19 players based with domestic clubs, along with three based in Spain, two in England and one in Germany:
FRANCE ROSTER FOR HOME GAMES VERSUS ENGLAND AND THE U.S.
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Solène Durand (Guingamp), 20-Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (Atletico Madrid, ESP), 16-Constance Picaud (Le Havre)
DEFENDERS (9): 19-Estelle Cascarino (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), 22-Élisa de Almeida (Montpellier HSC), 24-Océane Deslandes (Stade de Reims), 25-Grace Kazadi (Atletico Madrid, ESP), 23-Perle Morroni (Paris Saint-Germain), 2-Ève Périsset (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), 3-Julie Thibaud (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), 4-Marion Torrent (Montpellier HSC), 5-Aïssatou Tounkara (Atletico Madrid, ESP)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 15- Kenzi Dali (West Ham United FC, ENG), 8-Grace Geyoro (Paris Saint-Germain), 6-Inès Jauréna (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), 7-Oriane Jean-François (Paris FC), 10-Léa Khelifi (Paris Saint-Germain), 14-Ella Palis (FC Girondins de Bordeaux)
FORWARDS (7): 18-Viviane Asseyi (FC Bayern Munich, GER), 17-Sandy Baltimore (Paris Saint-Germain), 11-Kadidiatou Diani (Paris Saint-Germain), 20-Louise Fleury (Guingamp), 13-Valérie Gauvin (Everton, ENG), 12-Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain), 9-Eugénie le Sommer (Olympique Lyonnais)
Mexico Goes to Europe for Games against Slovakia and Spain
Mexico tied Slovaka 0-0 on April 10 in Vienna Austria and then fell to Spain 3-0 in Marbella on April 13 as Nahikari Garcia of Real Sociedad (24) scored a second half brace, with all three goals by Spain coming after the hour mark. New Mexico manager Monica Vergara used three players called in from U.S. colleges, two from Spain and one from the Netherlands, with the other 16 coming from Liga MX Femenil:
Mexico Squad versus Slovakia and Spain:
Cecilia Santiago Cisneros—PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands
Emily Alvarado Natividad—Texas Christian University, U.S.
Kenti Robles Salas—Real Madrid, Spain
Bianca Sierra Garcia—Tigers
Janelly Farías Rodríguez—America
Jocelyn Orejel Tavares—America
Kimberly Rodriguez Cubero—Oklahoma State University, U.S.
Jimena López Fuentes—SD Eibar, Spain
Reyna Reyes Stubblefield—University of Alabama, U.S.
Rebeca Bernal Rodríguez—Monterrey
Nancy Antonio Lopez—Tigers
Daniela Espinosa Arce—America
Nicole Perez Jimenez—Monterrey
Diana Garcia Castillo—Monterrey
Bethlehem Cruz Arzate—Tigers
Maria Sanchez Morales—Tigers
Montserrat Hernández García—America
Alison González Esquivel—Atlas
Renae Cuéllar Cuéllar—Tijuana
Alicia Cervantes Herrera—Guadalajara
Stephany Mayor Gutierrez—Tigers
Canada does double over Wales and England on U.K. trip
Canada had a hugely successful trip to the U.K. with their new English ex-pat head coach Bev Priestman. On April 9, they defeated Wales 3-0 in Cardiff with goals by Deanne Rose, Evelyne Viens and Jessie Fleming. Fleming said after the match, "It was a positive performance for us, especially just having the opportunity to practice some of those partnerships. I think we controlled the game well and responded to some of the challenges that they threw at us. Our three goals were all different, but I think they were all fantastic finishes each in their own way and it's good to see different players scoring the goals."
Canada then went to Stoke-on-Trent and shocked England with a 2-0 win. Evelyne Viens and Nichelle Prince scored the critical goals and goalkeeper Steph Labbe of Rosengard in Sweden had her second clean sheet of the trip. Coach Priestman said after the match. "We felt that we executed our strengths today on the pitch and that's what Canada's going to have to do in an Olympic Games to beat a tier-one opponent. We said that we have to be connected but we also wanted to be brave and when we get the ball, do what we do best. We're delighted to get that win against a top-10 nation. We kept a clean sheet and we scored two goals, so it's fantastic." About the entire trip, Priestman added, "We scored five goals across two matches and that's a start, it's the confidence this group needed to push on. Canada can compete in an Olympic Games when the mindset is right. Our players are in a great space and it has been a pleasure to work with them in this camp."
The vast majority of the squad is based in the U.S, either with NWSL sides or at American universities (16), with four based in England, three in France and one each in Sweden, Portugal and at home in Canada.
CANADA ROSTER FOR WALES AND ENGLAND MATCHES
GK- Rylee Foster| ENG / Liverpool FC, ENG
GK- Stephanie Labbé | SWE / FC Rosengård, SWE
GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Orlando Pride, U.S.
CB- Vanessa Gilles | FRA / FC Girondins de Bordeaux, FRA
CB- Jade Rose | CAN / Super REX Ontario
CB- Shelina Zadorsky | ENG / Tottenham Hotspur, ENG
FB- Lindsay Agnew | USA / NC Courage, U.S.
FB- Gabrielle Carle| USA / Florida State University, U.S.
FB- Allysha Chapman | USA / Houston Dash, U.S.
FB- Ashley Lawrence | FRA / Paris Saint-Germain, FRA
FB- Jayde Riviere | USA / University of Michigan, U.S.
M- Samantha Chang| USA / University of South Carolina, U.S.
M- Jessie Fleming | ENG / Chelsea FC, ENG
M- Julia Grosso | USA / University of Texas at Austin, U.S.
M– Jordyn Listro | USA / Kansas City NWSL, U.S.
M – Quinn | USA / OL Reign FC, U.S.
M- Sophie Schmidt | USA / Houston Dash, U.S.
M- Desiree Scott | USA / Kansas City NWSL, U.S.
M – Sarah Stratigakis | USA / University of Michigan, U.S.
F- Janine Beckie | ENG / Manchester City FC, ENG
F- Jordyn Huitema | FRA / Paris Saint-Germain, FRA
F – Cloé Lacasse | POR / Benfica, POR
F- Nichelle Prince | USA / Houston Dash, U.S.
F- Deanne Rose | USA / University of Florida, U.S.
F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Portland Thorns FC, U.S.
F- Evelyne Viens | USA / Sky Blue FC (Now NJ/NY Gotham FC), U.S.
Cloé Lacasse of SL Benfica in Portugal was called into the Canadian national team camp for the first time. Another potential debutant was goalkeeper Rylee Foster of Liverpool FC, who participated in Canada's recent February camp in Florida, USA. Neither made their debut in either game.
Unavailable for the April camp through medical reasons were Kadeisha Buchanan of FCF Olympique Lyonnais, Diana Matheson of Kansas City NWSL, Adriana Leon of West Ham United FC in England, Kailen Sheridan of NJ/NY Gotham FC, Sabrina D'Angelo of Vittsjö GIK in Sweden, and Bianca St-Georges of Chicago Red Stars.
England's Squad to Meet France Away and Canada at Home
All the England players were home-based in the WSL except for two from the NWSL.
Sandy MacIver (Everton)
Carly Telford (Chelsea)
Millie Bright (Chelsea)
Niamh Charles (Chelsea)
Rachel Daly (Houston Dash—U.S.)
Demi Stokes (Manchester City)
Millie Turner (Manchester United)
Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)
Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal)
Keira Walsh (Manchester City)
Bethany England (Chelsea)
Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)
Chloe Kelly (Manchester City)
Beth Mead (Arsenal)
Ella Toone (Manchester United)
For Wales, who narrowly missed out on a 2022 Women's EURO Playoff spot to Northern Ireland in their group, their team was heavily based on players currently playing club ball in England (22), with one in Scotland and three based at home with Cardiff City. Wales earned a 1-1 tie with Denmark on April 13 in Cardiff, with Pernille Harder (Chelsea of England) opening the scoring for the visitors in the 24th minute but OL Reign (NWSL) loanee to the WSL's Reading this winter Jess Fishlock tied the match up on the hour mark.
Wales Squad for Canada match:
Laura O'Sullivan (Cardiff City Ladies)
Olivia Clark (Coventry United, ENG)
Poppy Soper (Plymouth Argyle, ENG)
Rhiannon Roberts (Liverpool, ENG)
Gemma Evans (Bristol City, ENG)
Maria Francis-Jones (Cardiff City Ladies)
Charlie Estcourt (London Bees, ENG)
Hayley Ladd (Manchester United, ENG)
Josie Green (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG)
Angharad James (Reading, ENG)
Carrie Jones (Manchester United, ENG)
Kayleigh Green (Brighton & Hove Albion, ENG)
Natasha Harding (Reading, ENG)
Rachel Rowe (Reading, ENG)
Helen Wared (Watford, ENG)
Lily Woodham (Reading, ENG)
Georgia Walters (Blackburn Rovers, ENG)
Ffion Morgan (Crystal Palace, ENG)
Esther Morgan (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG)
Ceri Holland (Liverpool, ENG)
Bethan Roberts (Reading, ENG)
Kylie Nolan (Cardiff City Ladies)
Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get yours copy today.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey