Canada is aiming to qualify for their 5th-consecutive Women’s World Cup (1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007). Expectations to develop a possession-oriented and attack-minded team were high when Carolina Morace was hired as head coach in early 2009, so fans are hoping to see Canada qualify while playing great soccer.
Team Canada arrived in Cancún, Mexico on October 11 to kick off the 4th and final leg of their preparations for their WWC Qualifiers. 24 players were called into camp as early as August 25 to train in Rome, Italy, and they pulled out wins in their exhibition games against Roma (5-0) and Lazio (2-0) of Femminile Serie A along the way. 2.5 weeks later, WPS players joined the rest of the team in Germany for a friendly on September 15 against the upcoming WWC hosts, which resulted in a 5-0 defeat.
Following a short break, the Canadians then settled in Alliston, Ontario from September 21 to October 10. On September 30, fans were treated to a great display of ball movement, creativity, and fitness that the team has been developing over the past year and a half as Canada one-touched their way to a 3-1 international friendly victory against China. Prior to departing for Cancún, the team played an exhibition game against a select-team composed of local talent. No official word on the score, but no doubt that Canada sealed a victory.
The final tune up took form in two friendlies against Guatemala. On October 23, Canada walked away with a 5-0 win. No word on the game that supposedly took place on the 25.
After 2 months of training it all comes down to this: Canada opens their Qualification tournament against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, October 29 at 6pm ET. Following their Sunday, October 31 match up against Guyana at 7pm ET, Canada will face their most difficult opponent in the group, Mexico, on November 2 at 9:30pm. These and other Group A games will all be contested at Estadio Beto Avila.
If history is on their side, Canada shouldn’t have too difficult of a time against their Group A opponents.
Canada is unbeaten (5 wins) against Trinidad and Tobago, and has outscored the 49th ranked team in the world 15-0 in CONCACAF tournament play since 1991. As one CONCACAF.com article pointed out, T&T “hasn’t advanced past the first round since the inaugural championship in 1991, when it finished third”. However, head coach of the Soca Princesses, Jamaal Shabazz, is confident that his team has a good shot at reaching the semi-final round. “We have the ability to advance to the last four and then from there anything can happen,” he said, while also citing their recent performance as a good indication of the team’s abilities.
During the second phase of the Caribbean round of CONCACAF WWC Qualifying, T&T had shutout wins against Guyana and Barbados while scoring 3 and 5 goals respectively. They also took down St. Lucia by a score of 6-1. Their most recent warm up matches against Guatemala resulted in a 3-2 win and 2-2 draw.
T&T will be an interesting opponent as it pits Canada’s new style under Morace against the insight of former coach, Even Pellerud, who is now the Director of Women’s football for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and coach of the U-17 Women’s Team. There were also several accounts of Pellerud and his staff being spotted scouting Canada’s game against China in Toronto.