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Women's Under-19 Team

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Canada Takes On Austraila

Ottawa, Ontario – Canada’s Women’s Under-19 Team takes on Australia tomorrow in their first game of the 2004 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. The game will begin at 7:45 pm local/ 7:45 am ET/ 4:45 am PT.

Sportsnet will broadcast the match on tape delay at 4:00 p.m. (ET – East region)/ 3:30 p.m. (ET – Ontario)/ 2:30 p.m. (MT)/ 4:30 p.m. (PT).

For those interested in following the match online, FIFA.com will provide information on two of their websites; www.fifa.com and the official 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship Thailand website.

Canada will continue Group A play against Thailand (host) on Saturday, November 13th at 7:45 pm (local) and Germany on Tuesday, November 16th at 7:45 pm (local).

Canada recently defeated Russia 2:0 and 2:1 last week while preparing for the tournament in Phuket, Thailand.



Lang to captain Canada

By NEIL DAVIDSON, The Canadian Press

(CP) - Kara Lang was just 15 when she burst on the Canadian soccer scene in 2002, making her debut in Even Pellerud's World Cup team and then starring for Canada at the inaugural world women's under-19 championship.

On Wednesday, at Bangkok's 60,000-seat Rajamangala National Stadium, Lang will lead Canada out as captain - a veteran of 43 senior internationals and 26 at the under-19 level.

Lang, who turned 18 on Oct. 22, and the Canadians take on Australia (on tape delay, check local listings). A big crowd is expected since the game follows the tournament's opening ceremonies and kickoff match pitting host Thailand against Germany.

Lang, Brittany Timko and Robyn Gayle were all members of the 2002 under-19 team. Now they are providing leadership for the likes of 14-year-old Sydney Leroux, 15-year-old Jodi-Ann Robinson and 16-year-old Sophie Schmidt.

It all starts for real Wednesday with a game that could set the tone for Canada's campaign at the championship.

"Simply put, if we win tomorrow, we can pretty much count ourselves in the quarter-finals," Canadian coach Ian Bridge said Tuesday from the team's hotel. "No disrespect to Thailand but I expect we should be able to take the full points off them in the second game."

That would then set up a showdown for first place in Group A with Germany, a European powerhouse that wasn't supposed to be in Canada's group. But the Germans, three-time European champions, were upset 2-1 by Spain in the European final and ended up paired with Canada.

The top two teams in each of the three groups, plus the two best third-place finishers, advance to the knockout quarter-finals after the preliminary round-robin phase.

Finishing first in the group would give Canada an easier road, pitting it against the third-place team in one of the other groups. Still the defending champion U.S. would probably await them in the semifinals.

A second-place finish in its group would entail a quarter-final date with the runner-up in Group B, probably China. That might lead to a semifinal against powerful Brazil.

The Canadians were runners-up to the U.S. at the inaugural world under-19 championship, but avenged that loss by toppling the U.S. as CONCACAF champions earlier this year.

Bridge has had to juggle his lineup somewhat in the wake of a physical 2-1 exhibition win over Russia on Saturday. Emily Zurrer needed stitches to a head wound and will be replaced by young Schmidt in the backline.

Selenia Iacchelli will probably start in the midfield for Veronique Maranda, who also took a knock to the head against Russia.

Stacy VanBoxmeer will start in goal behind a back four of Katie Radchuk, Lang, Schmidt and Gayle.

Iacchelli, Aysha Jamani and Amanda Cicchini will patrol the midfield with a strike force of Timko, Josee Belanger and Tanya Dennis.

Dennis, a versatile performer, has seen action in the back four but will play up front on the right with Belanger on the left and Timko in the middle.

"Brittany has played most of her season at Nebraska as a striker up front," said Bridge. "She will run and run and run, and make great penetrating runs and is a good player in the air for flicking the ball on."

Jamani will play as a midfield link, using her dribbling and passing ability behind the front three. Cicchini will be the ball-winner, the anchor in the midfield.

It will be a big day for Schmidt, who only made her under-19 debut Saturday against Russia. Bridge has full confidence in her.

"She has been so impressive with her maturity," said Bridge.

While Lang is the on-field captain, Maranda is the training captain and Radchuk in "social" skipper.


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