Priestman pleased with invaluable experience gained by women’s soccer team at Arnold Clark Cup | CBC Sports

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Bev Priestman bought precisely what she bargained for on the Arnold Clark Cup, and though the Canadian ladies’s staff completed third within the four-nations event, Canada’s coach felt her aspect took the following large step in its evolution.

Priestman does not need final summer time’s Tokyo Olympics to be a one-off, however quite the start line of a brand new period that sees the Canadian ladies competing and holding their very own towards the highest nations within the sport frequently.

To that finish, Priestman determined to have her staff take part within the Arnold Clark Cup on this month’s worldwide window, quite than play a sequence of friendlies towards second-tier international locations. Canada, No. 6 within the present FIFA rankings, battled No. 8 England to a 1-1 attract its opening match, earlier than posting a 1-0 win over No. 3 Germany, and dropping 1-0 to No. 9 Spain.

Subsequent yr’s FIFA World Cup will broaden from 24 to 32 nations, and can characteristic not less than 11 European groups, three greater than competed on the 2019 World Cup. Seven of the eight quarter-finalists in France three years in the past have been from Europe.

With this in thoughts, Priestman challenged her gamers to not view the Arnold Clark Cup as an exhibition event, however quite as an opportunity to develop and develop whereas going through three high European nations.

WATCH | John Molinaro joins CBC Sports activities’ Signa Butler to debate Arnold Clark Cup: 

Breaking down CanWNT’s efficiency on the Arnold Clark Cup

TFC Republic’s John Molinaro joins CBC Sports activities’ Signa Butler to interrupt down the Canadian ladies’s soccer staff’s efficiency on the Arnold Clark Cup, which was their first main worldwide competitors since successful Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020. 5:48

General, Priestman was happy with what she noticed.

The Canadians got here from behind to earn a draw towards host nation England. Canada recorded solely its second win towards Germany in 17 all-time conferences between the international locations courting again to 1994.

Of their ultimate recreation, the Reds stored issues tight towards an ultra-slick Spanish staff who’s unbeaten in 19 consecutive matches and hasn’t misplaced a recreation in shut to 2 years.

“I stated coming into this we might come away with extra European expertise. We have achieved that. I am so glad we attended this event. I believe we have some large learnings. And there are some gamers that actually needed to step up,” the Canadian coach stated after Tuesday’s loss to Spain.

It was removed from excellent, as Canada seemed uneven at instances throughout the Arnold Clark Cup. However that was to be anticipated contemplating that it had been idle since enjoying a pair of video games in Mexico final November.

Canada’s three opponents had the benefit of calling on gamers who’re in season with their European golf equipment — the vast majority of Canada’s squad was made up of gamers from the Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League, which is in its low season in the meanwhile. Additionally, Canada was with out captain Christine Sinclair (household causes) and fellow ahead Adriana Leon (damage).

Placing performances in context

Nonetheless, Canada managed to go toe-to-toe towards three top-10 international locations, every of them among the many small group of favourites to win this summer time’s European Championship.

“The vital factor right here is context,” Priestman stated. “As a coach, while you lose, you typically lose sight of that. Should you informed me coming in that some gamers have not kicked a ball since [the games in Mexico], you’ve got bought Christine lacking, you’ve got bought Adriana [missing] — I believe we have taken a step ahead.”

Among the many many positives for Canada was the excellent play from Paris Saint-Germain’s Ashley Lawrence, broadly thought to be one the most effective fullbacks within the ladies’s recreation. Lawrence was a driving drive within the assault down the left aspect, as was fellow fullback Jayde Riviere down the appropriate flank. Kadeisha Buchanan and Vanessa Gilles cemented their standing as a formidable centre-back pairing, whereas midfielders Jessie Fleming and Quinn have been sensible on either side of the ball.

Canada’s Vanessa Gilles (24) celebrates with teammate Janine Beckie after scoring throughout the staff’s Arnold Clark Cup recreation towards Germany on Sunday. (Harriet Lander/Getty Pictures)

Priestman managed to provide midfielder Marie-Yasmine Alidou her senior staff debut, whereas additionally giving newcomer Cloé Lacasse (5 caps) some helpful enjoying time.

“We have discovered methods to get Ashley Lawrence increased [up the pitch], we have extra mixtures and extra trusted gamers, we have widened the depth and I’ve examined extra gamers,” Priestman stated.

After drawing England, Priestman bemoaned her staff’s lack of bravery in going ahead in assault and attempting to make one thing occur within the ultimate third of the pitch. Her gamers responded with a extra fearless show towards Germany.

In opposition to Spain, the Canadians began out robust earlier than seeing their opponents take the lead going into halftime. Following the break, Canada seemed revitalized in creating a number of scoring probabilities, and was unlucky to not not less than find yourself with a tie.

Priestman’s goal now could be to construct upon its displaying on the Arnold Clark Cup, and to ensure to get a full 90 minutes out of her staff throughout this summer time’s Concacaf Championship, which serves because the qualifiers for subsequent yr’s World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It is disappointing to lose, you hate dropping greater than you like successful,” Priestman admitted. “Unbelievable second half [vs. Spain], I believed we have been courageous — this staff throughout this event has proven moments of braveness, they only must do it throughout the 90 minutes, however I believe it is the truth of the place we’re at when it comes to bodily having the ability to compete over 90 minutes.

“We have proven some attacking threats, we had some clear-cut probabilities that perhaps 12 months in the past we would not have had.”

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