The Canadian women’s soccer team believes they can still beat the United States


Canada beat the United States in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Games a year ago en route to the gold medal

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Canada’s National Women’s Soccer Team has developed a new attitude against the United States since their gold medal triumph at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

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Canada beat the United States in a Tokyo Games semi-final a year ago en route to gold and in the Concacaf W Championship final on Monday (10 p.m. ET, OneSoccer) at BBVA Stadium from Monterrey, Mexico, believe they can do it again.

It won’t be easy, as the United States are still considered the best team in the world, but after beating their southern rivals at the Olympics, Canada no longer comes into the competition with an inferiority complex.

“I really think our confidence heading into this game is at an all-time high,” Canadian midfielder Desiree Scott said on Sunday. “We obviously have that confidence coming from the Tokyo Olympics. Obviously, nothing is ever given; it’s deserved and we know that as we approach the final, and I think the team’s mental space is confident and we’re really motivated for this final.

Canada improved throughout the tournament and reached the final with numbers identical to those of the United States. Both teams are 4-0 at the start of the game, have scored 12 goals and are yet to concede.

Canada advanced to the final with a 3-0 win over Jamaica in the semis, while the United States beat Costa Rica 3-0 in the semis.

“I think the United States are looking hungry,” Canada head coach Bev Priestman said. “I think if you look at the team and how they’ve evolved since the last time we played them in Tokyo, they’ve changed in some ways. Most of their goals would come in the first 15 minutes and that’s now a team that will be looking to finish a game strong and score most of their goals in this period of the game.

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“I think they’re changing, they look hungry, but the style of the team hasn’t changed drastically and the trend and the trends are still the same. It’s going to be the game we expect, it’s It’s about getting the best out of both teams and for any player, these are the games you live for; when you have to give your best to get a result.

The Concacaf final was always expected to feature Canada and the USA, as they are still, by far, the two best teams in the region.

At stake is an automatic place for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, which will go to the winner of the tournament. The second-place runner-up will face the third-place team in a playoff game for another Olympic spot in September 2023. Costa Rica and Jamaica will face off in the third-place game earlier on Monday.

“I think our team now sees itself as one of the best teams in the world,” Priestman said. “You could argue; did they really think that, historically? I do not know. But I think the story should continue to be told, that’s the main thing.

“We don’t want to be a one-size-fits-all team, we want to be a team that can consistently win on the world stage and if you start looking at the last Tier 1 games we’ve played from Tokyo so far, and what is our defensive record, we’ve beaten the top three in the world, and you’re starting to add that, and it builds confidence in the players. When it comes to playing against the best teams in the world, the numbers tell us we can.

Since beating the United States and then Sweden in the final at the Olympics, Canada has drawn with England, beaten Germany and lost a one-goal decision to Spain in the Arnold Clark Cup. They also lost to Mexico and tied Nigeria.

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At the Concacaf Championship, Canada has faced extremely defensive teams so far. They will face a much more offensive team in the United States.

“I think this game is going to be a lot more transitional, very quick and very physical,” Scott said. “I think it’s a change in our mindset, coming into the game and we know both teams are going to bring their A-games. So it’s just a matter of focusing on us and what we can do and bring that speed and tempo to the game and then drive that attacking side of things and then be mentally and physically ready to fight.

For their part, the United States are going through a transition with head coach Vlatko Andonovski who will field a younger squad at the tournament with a focus on next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. . All four semi-finalists qualified for the World Cup.

The United States are undefeated in 17 games since losing to Canada at the Olympics, which Andonovski says isn’t a big talking point among his team in Mexico.

“If you look at the group of players who are here, I don’t know if there are more than four or five players who were on the pitch in this game who are here,” he said.

Canada shut out the United States in Tokyo and won the match on a penalty converted by Jessie Fleming. They will need another strong defensive effort to overtake USA again in the Concacaf W Final.

“For us, it’s being proud of our defensive game, we always do,” Scott said. “We are a tough team to break, we come into this game with zero goals against and we have to keep that, we have to keep the Americans and their offense at bay and then be clinical in our final third.

“I think we can get chances and opportunities with our crosses, especially with the attacking prowess that we bring, and then just finish and capitalize on those chances because there might not be a lot of them, so we have to really capitalize on those chances that we get. ”

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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