Canadian women to face Czech Republic, Brazil in soccer friendlies ahead of Olympics

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Canada will play the Czech Republic and Brazil in soccer friendlies next month as part of its preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Canadian women, ranked eighth in the world, will face the 27th-ranked Czechs on June 11 and No. 7 Brazil on June 14 with both matches in Cartagena, Spain.

“This camp will provide us with similar conditions to what we will face in an Olympics, with two very different opponents within a three-day window, so it is a great opportunity to see how we cope in those circumstances as well as in the heat,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said in a statement.

“Another two games under our belt before the Tokyo Olympic Games is critical and again will provide another opportunity to assess players, test and develop player partnerships, and build on the work we have done to date. With more players in season now, I’m excited to see how players come in more and more ready for Tokyo and hope we can build on a successful April window.”

Canada has never played the Czech Republic at the international “A” level. The Czechs recently reached the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifying playoff, but lost a penalty shootout to Switzerland in a two-legged series.

Canada lost 2-0 to Brazil last time out at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup in February. The Canadian women are 8-9-7 all-time against the Brazilians, a record that includes a 2-1 Canada win in the bronze medal match at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Canada also won bronze at the 2012 Games in London.

The Canadians open play at the Tokyo Games on July 21 against No. 11 Japan at the Sapporo Dome. Canada will then face No. 37 Chile on July 24 at the Sapporo Dome and Britain on July 27 at Kashima Stadium.

FIFA does not rank Britain, which draws on talent from No. 6 England, No. 23 Scotland, No. 32 Wales and No. 48 Northern Ireland.

Priestman hopes to play two more games after the June friendlies in the final lead-up to the Games. She plans to delay naming her 18-woman roster until as late as possible to give injured players like forward Adrian Leon and Diana Matheson time to get healthy.

Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who underwent thigh surgery after being injured in the SheBelieves Cup, is already back in action.

The Canadians are coming off April wins over England (2-0) and Wales (3-1).


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press