Canada’s Olympic gold medal winning women’s team faces Mexico in two friendlies Saturday, November 27 and Tuesday, November 30. Both games will take place in Mexico.
And while Canada is unbeaten in 12 matches, and will be favourites versus Mexico, head coach Bev Priestman is adamant her squad won’t rest on its laurels.
“I’ve said to the players, we broke records in terms of an unbeaten run, but that has to continue,” said Priestman Wednesday. “We can’t lose sight when we play teams perceived weaker than us.
“We’re that gold medal target right now. We can’t be the hunted. We have to keep hunting and moving forward.”
Strong Canadian squad, but key players missing
Canada has taken a strong squad to Mexico, with 18 of the 22 Olympic squad members available.
But forwards Janine Beckie and Adriana Leon are out due to injury. And Gabrielle Carle and Jayde Riviere are out due the school commitments.
“(It’s) a great chance probably now to test some players and also implement some of the tactical changes for us moving forward,” said Priestman during the squad announcement last week.
Priestman expects aggressive Mexico
The Mexican women are ranked 28th in the world, while Canada currently sits sixth. But Priestman still expects a tough test from Mónica Vergara’s squad.
“Mónica, the coach, has an aggressive Mexican team,” said Priestman. “They’re a little bit like Sweden, in the sense of, if you’re not careful on how you play out, and when you play out, they’re very good a regaining the ball back and then breaking on you. That’s their X-factor.
“They’re not just going to park the bus, I think, and sit back. It will be an aggressive game which is exciting.”
Canada will take part in February tournament
Priestman also confirmed last week Canada will participate in an international tournament in February 2022, but did not say which tournament.
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Last February Canada took part in the SheBelieves Cup hosted by the United States. Previous to that the Canadian women have played in the annual invitational Algarve Cup in Portugal.
“We definitely will be active in that window,” said Priestman. “We’ve always taken part in tournaments. The SheBelieves (Cup) was a massive part of our Olympic journey that started a year ago.”
“We’ll definitely be taking part in a tournament.”