Canadians prep for Algarve Cup final, announce pair of friendlies in Toronto, Ottawa

Yahoo Sports Staff
Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan controls the bouncing ball during Algarve Cup group game against Belgium March 4, 2016.

If nothing else, Canada’s national women’s soccer team is getting its fill of Brazil ahead of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Canadians meet Brazil in Wednesday’s final (1:30 p.m. ET) of the Algarve Cup in Portugal, their last major competition before those Olympics. But they took time out of preparations for that one on Tuesday, International Women’s Day, announcing a pair of friendlies back on home soil against that same Brazil team in June: at Toronto’s BMO Field, on June 4, and in Ottawa at TD Place on June 7.

Wednesday’s Algarve Cup final follows three tight preliminaries in the competition, Canada losing the opener 1-0 to Denmark then winning by the same count against Belgium and Iceland. The scorelines, and the sharper, more tactically astute opposition contrast some to last month’s CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in which Canada scored 24 goals in four matches and easily stamped its ticket to Rio before losing to the United States 2-0 in the final.

“I’m not too worried about the lack of scoring,” Head coach John Herdman said Tuesday in a media conference call from Portugal. “My concern is that this group of women have got to keep pushing to create better opportunities, and I think they’re doing that," he added, pointing to Janine Beckie's well-worked winner off a Christine Sinclair setup against Iceland.

For Canada, Wednesday marks its first Algarve Cup final and presents a rematch of December’s Natal international tournament in which Canada lost a pair of games to Brazil, including the final.

“They’re a team that consistently plays together … it’ll be their top lineup,” said Herdman. “(But) they’re certainly not a team that frightens Canada too much.”