The Hamilton Spectator

Canada bounces back

Olympic champions’ composure shines in win over Brazil


Canada defeated Brazil 2-0 Sunday at the SheBelieve­s Cup, rebounding from a flat performanc­e in their opening loss to the United States.

The ongoing labour dispute with Canada Soccer clearly unsettled the sixth-ranked Canadian women against the Americans on Thursday but the Olympic champions looked far more composed against No. 9 Brazil.

Centre back Vanessa Gilles put Canada ahead in the 31st minute with a powerful header off a Jessie Fleming corner. Brazilian defender Lauren fell on the play. It was Gilles’ third goal in 24 appearance­s for Canada.

Brazil came out with purpose after the break, putting Canada under pressure. But it was substitute Evelyne Viens who added to the Canadian lead in the 71st after Brazil failed to clear a Fleming free kick.

Substitute Christine Sinclair headed Fleming’s delivery into the box and, after a pinball-like sequence involving several players in front of goal, Viens’ shot deflected in off a Brazilian defender for her fourth goal in 16 senior appearance­s.

Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan made two key saves with 10 minutes remaining to preserve the lead.

The four-team tournament wraps up Wednesday in Frisco, Texas, where Canada — which sits second in the standings above Brazil on goal difference — faces Japan and the U.S. meets Brazil.

The U.S. defeated No. 11 Japan 1-0 in the earlier game Sunday at Geodis Park. Mallory Swanson, who scored both of the American goals in the win over Canada, accounted for the lone goal in the 45th minute.

Brazil edged Japan 1-0 in its Thursday opener.

All four teams are preparing for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Canadians, who are playing under protest due to the labour impasse with their governing body, once again took the field for the anthems wearing purple T-shirts saying “Enough is Enough.”

The women also wore purple tape on their wrist, as did coach Bev Priestman, to symbolize gender equality.

England wore purple wristbands in their 2-1 win over Italy earlier Sunday at the Arnold Clark Cup in Coventry. The Lionesses said on social media the gesture was “to display their support for the Canadian WNT players and for gender equality.”

The Canadian women are demanding the same preparatio­n and backing ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia this summer as the men did before theirs in Qatar.

Both the women’s and men’s teams want Canada Soccer to open its books and explain cuts to both programs in 2023 at a time when the sport is soaring back home.

The entire Canadian roster took part in the pre-game on-field photo rather than just the usual starting 11.

Priestman made two changes to her starting 11 with Simi Awujo and Jade Rose coming in for Sinclair and Jordyn Huitema. Fleming took over from Sinclair as captain while Quinn, who goes by one name, did not dress due to illness.

Janine Beckie earned her 100th cap for Canada. The 28-year-old Portland Thorn is one of the Canadian women’s four team representa­tives — along with Sinclair, Quinn and Sophie Schmidt — and has been a leading voice in the labour dispute.

Brazilian star Marta, who turned 37 Sunday, came on in the 59th minute to earn cap No. 184.

 ?? MARK ZALESKI THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan corrals the ball during Sunday’s match against Brazil in Nashville.
MARK ZALESKI THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan corrals the ball during Sunday’s match against Brazil in Nashville.

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