Canada and Brazil are tied for eighth in the current FIFA women’s world rankings, but it was the South Americans who looked the far better side when these two teams renewed their long-standing rivalry. The Canadians closed their 2021 SheBelieves Cup campaign on a sour note, dropping a 2-0 decision to Brazil on Wednesday in the final game for both teams at this invitational tournament in Orlando that serves as a tune-up for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Defensive errors doomed the Reds in this encounter, as both of Brazil’s goals came directly off Canadian miscues at the back. Canada finished this four-nation competition with one win and two losses, and behind the United States and Brazil in the final standings, as coach Bev Priestman took charge of the Canadian team for the first time since being hired last October. The Reds suffered a 1-0 loss to the U.S. in their tournament opener last week before rebounding to beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday. Priestman made four lineup changes from the Argentina match. She gave starts to veteran Desiree Scott (who served as captain), fullbacks Deanne Rose and Jayde Riviere, and midfielder Sarah Stratigakis (who scored against Argentina). Midfielder Quinn and fullback Allysha Chapman were ruled out due to injury. The Canadians pressed their opponents right from the opening kickoff, with Janine Beckie, Nichelle Prince and Jessie Fleming looking lively in attack and finding plenty space in behind Brazil’s defence. But it was the South Americans who opened the scoring in the 14th minute. A poor pass played out from the back by Canadian defender Jade Rose led to a giveaway, and Brazil’s Adriana broke in on goal before slipping an angled shot through the legs of goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé that hit the far post. Trailing teammate Debinha stuck with the play, and beat flat-footed Canadian defender Shelina Zadorsky to the ball and potted the rebound into an empty net. Brazil doubled its lead before halftime, once again pouncing on some sloppy defensive play by Canada. The Reds couldn’t clear their lines after Riviere’s poor headed clearance led to a scramble inside their penalty area. Brazil’s Julia capitalized with a gorgeous shot that beat Labbé and nestled inside the far post. Adriana nearly added a third goal for Brazil just before halftime, only to see Labbé tip her dangerous shot from 23 yards out onto the crossbar. Priestman made a double substitution at the start of the second half, drawing in forward Evelyne Viens and midfielder Jordyn Listro for Prince and Stratigakis. Soon after, Adrian Leon replaced Deanne Rose, and the West Ham United forward proved a handful for Brazil down the left-side, while Listro looked dangerous in the final third. Canada’s pressure nearly paid off in the final minutes. Leon couldn’t get on the end of a ball played across the box by Beckie, while Zadorky’s sliding attempt hit the post, and she saw her rebound effort saved by Brazilian goalkeeper Bárbara.
BOX SCOREGoals 15’ – Debinha (Brazil) 39’ – Julia (Brazil) Discipline 90’+1’ – Rafaelle (Brazil)
- Brazil leads the all-time series between these two nations, with nine wins and seven draws in 24 matches. Canada and Brazil played to a 2-2 draw in their previous meeting at last year’s Tournoi de France.
- Four players earned their first caps for Canada at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup: Forward Evelyne Viens, midfielders Jordyn Listro and Samantha Chang, and defender Jade Rose. Goalkeeper Rylee Foster earned her first national team call-up, but didn’t see any action in Orlando.
- Wednesday marked the 11-year anniversary of Desiree Scott’s senior team debut. Scott, a 33-year-old native of Winnipeg, played her first game for Canada on Feb. 24, 2010 against Switzerland at the Cyprus Cup tournament. The midfielder has gone on to earn 159 caps, which means she ranks fifth in all-time appearances for Canada, behind only Christine Sinclair (296), Diana Matheson (206), Sophie Schmidt (202) and retired defender Rhian Wilkinson (181). Scott made her 121st start for Canada on Wednesday.
- Next up for Canada is an away international friendly vs. England on April 13, with the location to be announced at a later date. The game will take place during FIFA’s international window. England is sixth in the current FIFA world rankings, two spots above Canada.
- The U.S. plays Argentina on Wednesday night in the final game at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup. Like Canada, Brazil and the U.S. have qualified for the 2021 Olympics, and are using this competition to prepare for Tokyo.