Canadian women exit Arnold Clark Cup on losing note but with plenty of positives

WOLVERHAMPTON, United Kingdom –

Whereas Canada leaves the Arnold Clark Cup on the again of a 1-0 loss to a formidable Spain aspect, coach Bev Priestman noticed loads of positives for the Olympic champions.

Regardless of having half of her roster in pre-season mode again house with their NWSL groups and lacking talismanic captain Christine Sinclair and skilled ahead Adriana Leon, the sixth-ranked Canadian ladies tied No. 8 England 1-1 and beat No. 3 Germany 1-0 earlier than operating into a trendy Spanish aspect that performed nicely above its No. 9 rating.

“I believe we have taken a step ahead,” Priestman stated after Wednesday’s match at a near-empty Molineux Stadium. “I really feel like we discovered methods to get (star fullback) Ashley Lawrence larger (up the pitch). We have extra combos and extra trusted gamers. I believe we have widened the depth – I’ve examined extra gamers.

“I stated coming into this we would come away with extra European expertise. We have completed that … I am so glad we attended this match. I believe we have some large learnings. And there are some gamers that actually needed to step up.”

Spain got here as marketed, elegant and assured, aggressive on defence and comfy on the ball in assault.

Star midfielder Alexia Putellas, winner of the Ballon d’Or, Finest FIFA Girls’s Participant and UEFA Participant of the Yr, pulled the strings for Spain because it prolonged its unbeaten streak to 19 video games (17-0-2) since a 1-0 loss to the U.S. on the SheBelieves Cup in March 2020.

Whereas Spain had extra of the ball early on, Canada appeared as much as the duty and created a number of probabilities of its personal to start out.

However Spain went forward within the twenty first minute after Patri Guijarro stole the ball off Lawrence in midfield. 5 passes later it was behind the online with a low shot from an unmarked Putellas, who made a stealthy run into the center of the penalty field and beat Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.

The 28-year-old Barcelona star nearly scored a second within the 63rd minute, however her header off a nook hit the woodwork.

The sport grew scrappier within the second half as substitutions had been made. Canada got here on late however was unable to interrupt by means of, with two Canadian attackers unable to get to a harmful Lawrence cross that flashed by means of the Spanish penalty field within the dying seconds.

As within the two earlier matches, Priestman preferred elements of the efficiency.

“For us it has been three video games of half-a-game, to be trustworthy with you, throughout this match,” she stated. “I can solely stroll away from this recreation very pleased with the second half and a poor first half. However that is credit score to Spain.”

Spain completed with 60 per cent possession and outshot Canada 14-7 though the Canadians had a 3-1 edge in pictures on track.

The defeat was solely the fourth for Canada beneath Priestman, whose report is 10-4-6 together with two shootout wins on the Tokyo Olympics. The opposite losses had been to the U.S., Brazil and Mexico.

A victory Wednesday and Canada (1-1-1) would have gained the match. England (0-0-2) performed Germany (0-1-1) within the later recreation needing a win to have an opportunity of catching Spain for the match title.

The Spanish ladies arrived in England on a 16-game profitable streak throughout which they outscored their opposition 96-0. And regardless of enjoying to 2 ties, Spain appeared harmful in opposition to Germany and England, posing issues with its smothering press.

The Spanish beginning 11 featured six gamers from Champions League winner Barcelona, together with Putellas. The attacking midfielder scored 26 objectives and added 19 assists as Barcelona gained the Spanish League, Cup and Champions League final season. Barca teammate Jenni Hermoso, who tied for the Spanish league scoring lead with 31 objectives, served as captain.

“It was a really aggressive recreation. We battled arduous,” Spain coach Jorge Vilda stated by means of an interpreter. “We performed nicely for sure intervals of the sport albeit with out making the very best begin and that is one thing that we might like to enhance on. We did then take management of the sport, created probabilities.

“Alexia Putellas scored the objective and I really feel we dominated from that time onwards.”

Priestman made 4 modifications to the crew that beat Germany, giving Marie-Yasmine Alidou her senior debut whereas additionally inserting Shelina Zadorsky, Deanne Rose and Jordyn Huitema.

Alidou, a 26-year-old midfielder from Saint-Hubert, Que., performs in Austria for SK Sturm Graz.

Eight of Canada’s 11 starters Wednesday had been European-based and in-season.

Centre again Kadeisha Buchanan, incomes her 116th cap, captained Canada within the absence of Sinclair, who stayed at house following the latest demise of her mom. Jessie Fleming served as skipper in opposition to England whereas fellow midfielder Desiree Scott wore the captain’s armband in opposition to Germany.

Sheridan began in objective for the third straight recreation on the match, giving technique to Sabrina D’Angelo at halftime. Buchanan, Fleming, Lawrence, Scott, Janine Beckie and Jayde Riviere additionally began all three contests.

Canada got here shut within the twenty eighth minute when Huitema headed a Beckie free kick off the crossbar. The ball bounced again into play, simply lacking an onrushing Buchanan. Spain goalkeeper Lola Gallardo appeared to get a finger to the ball, sending it off the woodwork.

Putellas confirmed her pedigree on quite a few events, together with late within the half when she nutmegged Scott, who was making her 173rd senior look, earlier than heading to the Canadian objective.

Riviere needed to be helped off within the 53rd minute in apparent ache after having her wrist stepped on by a Spanish participant after falling. There was no instant replace on her situation.

Canada was unable to threaten till later within the second half, with the ultimate passing typically lacking its mark though ahead Cloe Lacasse made her presence felt after approaching within the 77th minute.

The Canadian ladies had solely performed Spain twice earlier than, drawing 0-0 in Could 2019 in Logrones and dropping 1-0 in March 2017 in Sao Joao da Venda.

The Canadian ladies are gearing up for the CONCACAF W Championship in July in Mexico, which is able to decide World Cup and Olympic qualification. Subsequent up for Canada is a deliberate pleasant in April.

The England match’s title sponsor, Arnold Clark, is a family-run automobile vendor.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Feb. 23, 2022

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