• squizz

      by Published on 03-12-2014 11:53 AM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      Well, it's not quite the top-two finish Canada is accustomed to at the Cyprus Cup, but fifth place is ... well, better than nothing! So, huzzah for something! (If you need some sort of consolation, consider that the Americans had to settle for seventh (!) at the Algarve Cup, and fifth is better than seventh!)

      It was (apparently) a dramatic, last-minute 2-1 victory over Ireland that sealed the result. I say "apparently" because, as is customary, it was impossible to watch the game short of actually being in Cyprus. Given that there is zero visibility out the window as I type this, due to the seventh consecutive hour of blustering snow, I can assure you I am not in Cyprus.

      So, here's a half-hearted synopsis, cobbled together from the live tweets provided by the Canadian Soccer Association. No fanciful stories about dragons or talking cheese sandwiches today, unfortunately; I somehow find myself unable to muster the mental energy to put together a fabricated synopsis, and I'm not sure why oh for the love of, it's snowing UPWARDS now! It's March 12, for crap's sake! Come on!
      ...
      by Published on 03-10-2014 10:18 PM

      For the first time in the long and illustrious history of the Cyprus Cup (established 2008), Canada will not be contesting the final.

      A 2-0 loss to England in their final group-stage game on Monday consigned Big Red to the horrendous indignity of competing in the third-place game rather than rightfully ascending to the championship showdown, as is their birthright.

      Surely, all sorts of sweeping conclusions can be drawn from this game that nobody saw: Fire Herdman, retire Sinclair, blow the whole program up, sack the CSA, etc. etc.
      ...
      by Published on 03-07-2014 12:30 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      Having spent far more of my day than I'd have cared to embroiled in a rather inconvenient situation beyond my control, I find myself woefully lacking in the time necessary to craft the sort of fanciful nonsense that usually comprises these "mostly fabricated synopses".

      These, of course, are the posts I inexplicably churn out after one of our national teams plays an entirely untelevised game, ostensibly to provide some manner of coverage but realistically to provide me a chance to incorporate stupid pop culture references and bizarre fictional narratives into the stuff I write here.

      Anyway, Canada really did play its second group-stage game of the Cyprus Cup on Friday morning, and really did win 3-1 over Italy, following a 3-0 victory in their tournament opener against Finland. A result against England on Monday is what stands between them and a return to the championship final, which Canada has contested every year since this competition started in 2008.

      All of that is true; believe the following at your own peril.
      ...
      by Published on 03-05-2014 12:18 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      In an ideal world, every game played by our national teams would be televised live, in glorious high-definition, and every member of the viewing public would get an ice cream sundae (and get to choose the flavour).

      Plus, of course, it'd be free, since most people -- for some odd reason -- think there are no costs associated with producing a live broadcast, and any attempt by a broadcaster to attempt to recoup those costs is utterly evil and exploitative. [/soapbox]

      Living in the world in which we do, however, Canadian national team games are quite frequently not televised. So, we get a few live tweets and are left to fill in the blanks with our imagination. I take it a step further and fill in the blanks with nonsense, which has resulted in a nice little series of mostly fabricated synopses (here, here, here and here are some past examples).

      Anyway, Canada played Finland in their Cyprus Cup opener on Wednesday morning. We won 3-0. Huzzah! Here's what happened (kind of):
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      by Published on 03-04-2014 12:09 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      With all eyes trained on the U20 and senior Women's World Cups being hosted in Canada over the next 16 months, one could be forgiven for forgetting that Canada will also be contesting the U17 Women's World Cup later this month.

      The fourth edition of the competition runs from March 15 to April 4 in Costa Rica, with Canada competing in a difficult group alongside Germany, North Korea and Ghana. North Korea knocked Canada out of the 2012 tournament in the quarter-finals, a competition in which the Canadians had excruciating difficulty finding the back of the net (they, incomprehensibly, managed to put just one past lowly Azerbaijan).

      But past results mean little in the youth ranks, where turnover is constant. There are no returning players from the 2012 squad, though two names on this year's roster -- released by head coach Bev Priestman on Tuesday, full roster below -- will likely already ring some bells for followers of the senior national team.

      Midfielder Jessie Fleming -- who, at 15 years old, earned her first senior national-team cap at a tournament in Brazil in December -- will captain the U-17 side, while fullback Sura Yekka, who has already earned seven senior caps, will join the U17 side after missing the qualifying tournament last October/November.
      ...
      by Published on 03-01-2014 03:53 PM

      The draw for this summer's U20 Women's World Cup took place Saturday afternoon, with Canada learning its path to the knockout round.

      Canada will open the tournament against Ghana at Toronto's BMO Field on Aug. 5, then meet Finland at BMO Field on Aug. 8 before traveling to Montreal to meet North Korea at Olympic Stadium on Aug. 12.

      Canada also played North Korea in its final group-stage match of the 2012 tournament, a 2-1 loss that knocked Canada out of the tournament. This time out, both teams will likely make the knockout stage, with that final game determining who finishes first and second... although the youth ranks are always highly unpredictable.
      ...
      by Published on 02-26-2014 12:48 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      It's not us, it's them.

      After years of wondering why Canada contented itself playing in the second-tier Cyprus Cup while the marquee-team-laden Algarve Cup ran concurrently -- and wondering whether CSA complacency had something to do with it -- I've finally gotten an answer: We want in... Canada wants in to the Algarve Cup, but the feeling isn't mutual.

      "We proactively went after a spot in (this year's) Algarve Cup," women's national team head coach John Herdman said Wednesday. "We made waves to see if we could get into that tournament. But we were relying on somebody dropping out."

      Herdman said CSA president Victor Montagliani and general secretary Peter Montopoli "made all the connections with the right people and discussed the potential" -- but ultimately, it came down to a matter of no team wanting to cede their spot (which, by extension, means tournament organizers were unwilling to rescind their invitation to another country for the sake of Canada).
      ...
      by Published on 02-24-2014 06:14 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      While excitement is already bubbling over the quartet of home games the women's national team is scheduled to play in 2014, there's still the small matter of playing in next month's Cyprus Cup.

      What does it all mean? Well, you'll get my possibly-unpopular opinion on that shortly, after we roll through what brought everyone here: The roster!
      ...
      by Published on 02-13-2014 07:58 AM

      Amidst all of the hoopla surrounding our Winter Olympic athletes and their successes, a bit of very unfortunate news about a top Canadian athlete filtered out on Thursday morning.

      Kara Lang's bid to return to the women's national team after retiring three years ago has been thrown into question after, in her words, her knee "literally exploded" just two days after being cleared to fully train with the team. While some initial reports are suggesting this officially ends her comeback bid... well, we should know by now to never say never as it relates to Lang.

      The situation as it stands, in her words:
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      by Published on 02-05-2014 02:33 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      To paraphrase the great "Nature Boy" Ric Flair: To be the best, you've got to beat the best.

      And while Canada isn't necessarily expecting to pick up full points in their four announced home dates this year, they at least know that they'll be getting top-notch experience against the world's best women's national teams. Canada will play the world's #1, #2 and #3 ranked teams in home friendlies this year, in preparation for next year's Women's World Cup -- which is, of course, also in the Great White North.

      In addition to meeting the world #1 Americans in Winnipeg on May 8, they'll clash with the #2 Germans in Vancouver on June 18, then meet the #3 Japanese for a double-header, in Edmonton on Oct. 25 and in Vancouver on Oct. 28. If Big Red has any hope of getting onto the podium next year, these are the sorts of teams they'll need to defeat -- and these games will give us an indication of their chances of doing exactly that.
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      by Published on 02-03-2014 08:02 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      The women's national team's 2014 schedule is coming into clearer view, with one home friendly already locked down and two more to be confirmed by mid-week.

      With Friday's 1-0 loss to the U.S. still fresh on fans' minds, it was announced Monday that Big Red will tangle with their cross-border rivals once again in three months' time -- Thursday, May 8 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.

      There's more to come -- the CSA will make home-game announcements in Edmonton on Tuesday, then in Vancouver on Wednesday. It's all part of the organization's plan to showcase the CanWNT in all six host cities in the run-up to the 2015 Women's World Cup (the other three are, of course, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton).
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      by Published on 01-31-2014 10:14 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course it's all about Sydney Leroux.

      Of course she was going to be the focal point, of course she was going to have an impact (especially with Alex Morgan out of the American lineup) and of course -- of course -- she took advantage of a Canadian mistake and scored the winner on Friday night down in Frisco, Texas.

      She's the devil incarnate or she's being unfairly judged for a decision made as a teenager or she's a ferocious competitor or she's simply the dumping ground for all the pent-up anger and insecurity within Canadian soccer fans or she's brash and arrogant or she's a fabrication artist or she's some combination of all of these things, or possibly none of these things at all, depending on who you ask.

      All we know for certain is that she's a very talented player who is going to be a thorn in our sides for a long time.
      ...
      by Published on 01-30-2014 01:33 PM
      1. Categories:
      2. Canada

      "They're an absolute machine."

      That's Canada head coach John Herdman, quite accurately describing the American women's national team as of late. Even without an injured Alex Morgan, the Americans possess the depth and firepower to overwhelm nearly any other national squad on the planet. After all, they aren't ranked #1 in the world for nothing.

      "But at some point someone's going to trip them up," Herdman continued. "The big thing with the United States is, while everyone's got then pressure of playing the world #1, they've got the pressure of being world #1. Expectation is the mother of all crises."

      No doubt, the pressure will be on for both sides, come Friday night in Frisco, Texas.
      ...
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