Canada’s women face England tomorrow in a warm-up match as they wind down their preparation for the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) World Cup that starts next week.
The squad returned to Toronto a week ago after a seven-day training camp in Cancun, Mexico that was preceded by a few days of training in Santa Monica, California where Canada recorded a 1-0 win over Mexico in a training match. Jessie Fleming scored the game’s only goal in the first half.
Coach John Herdman is so far happy with the squad’s preparation.
“The team has performed very well with some positive performances and some good results so I think we’re in a good space,” he said.
Fleming’s goal came around the half-hour mark as she was in the right place to convert a cross that was parried into her path by the Mexican goalkeeper.
Canada could have had a few others in the first half but goalkeepers Stephanie Labbe and Karina LeBlanc, who each played 45 minutes, came up with quality saves on the few occasions Mexico went forward.
“We will take a lot away from this game because it was frantic,” said LeBlanc. “It’s about growth as a team and us growing together and dealing with those moments.”
For now, Herdman hasn’t set his starting line-up for the opening game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.
“There isn’t a set starting line-up and we’ve said this from day one,” he said. “There are certain positions in the team that we’ll be rotating players in and out based on the opposition and based on our tactics. But we’ve really tried to dispel the myth that starting games is the most important.”
Herdman said the players are aware of the importance of playing in such a major tournament at home.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “We have a major advantage going into this tournament because we know Canada and we have Canadians behind us.”
Ranked eighth in the world, Canada faces 16th ranked China on June 6 and 17th ranked New Zealand in Edmonton five days later before travelling to Montreal to meet the 12th ranked The Netherlands in its final group contest on June 15.