Australia plays their final group stage game against Canada on Monday, 31 July (8:00 pm AEST), with both teams fighting for a place in the knockout stages.
We take a closer look and put the Canadian under the microscope ahead of our clash.
Current FIFA Ranking: 6
FIFA Women’s World Cup Appearances: 8 (1995 Sweden, 1999 USA, 2003 USA, 2007 China, 2011 Germany,2015 Canada, 2019 France, 2023 Australia & New Zealand)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification Record
Goals scored: 12
Goals conceded: 1
The 2022 CONCACAF W Championship served as the qualification for Canada, with the team finishing as runners-up to the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champions, USA, going down 1-0 with a penalty to Alex Morgan sealing the victory.
Canada went through to the semi-finals undefeated in the group stage, recording three wins and not conceding a goal in the process. A 3-0 victory over Jamaica saw the side advance to the final, with Jessie Fleming and Julia Grosso leading the scoring for their country with three goals each.
Bev Priestman’s side had eight different goalscorers across the tournament, with Grosso picking up the Golden Boot in the competition and keeper Kailen Sheridan winning the Golden Glove.
Bev Priestman’s side has Christine Sinclair, the current all-time leading goalscorer in the world, leading her side in her 6th FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Sinclair, currently with 325 appearances for her side to her name, is still looking to find the back of the net in the 2023 edition of the tournament. A goal on Australian soil would mean she has scored in every FIFA Women’s World Cup she has appeared in.
Jessie Fleming, Sam Kerr’s Chelsea teammate, captained the side in Canada’s win over the Republic of Ireland, with Sinclair starting from the bench in the victory.
After making her senior debut for Canada at just 15, she is a regular face in the side having made 116 appearances for her country at just 25.
Fleming did not feature in her side’s opening game against Nigeria after an injury sustained in training kept her sidelined.
Ashley Lawrence is an experienced defender in Bev Priestman’s side, pulling on the jersey 119 times for her country.
The defender helped Canada to their Olympic Gold medal at Tokyo 2020, clearing away a crucial header in the dying minutes of extra time against Sweden.
Bev Priestman has plenty of experience at the international level, with the English-born coach serving as the assistant coach for the Lionesses for two years, while also coaching the U17 and U20 youth Canadian women’s teams.
In October 2020, Priestman was appointed as the head coach for the senior team, leading them to the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics on August 6, 2021.
Australia and Canada met twice on Aussie soil in 2022, with the Matildas hosting the side at Suncorp Stadium and Allianz Stadium in September. Canada walked away with victories in both games, Adriana Leon scored the winner in a 1-0 victory in Brisbane. Despite opening the scoring early in Sydney for the second game through Mary Fowler, a brace to Leon sealed the 2-1 victory.
The two last met at a FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007, after drawing with Norway and beating Ghana in the opening game, Australia was out for a win against Canada to send them into the knockout stage for the first-ever time.
Australia got off to a less-than-ideal start, with striker Melissa Tancredi giving Canada the lead in the fixture. The side took the lead into the break before Collette McCallum would find the equaliser for Australia in the 53rd minute to keep the Matildas’ hopes of progressing in the tournament alive.
Christine Sinclair, the current all-time leading goalscorer in the world, found the go-ahead goal for Canada in the 85th minute and it looked to be that the Matildas would once again just miss out on a spot in the quarter-finals, however, skipper Cheryl Salisbury would find the equaliser in the dying minutes of the game, with Australia finishing second in the group, just one point ahead of Canada.
A number of familiar faces were on the bench in the historic win, with Clare Polkinghorne and Lydia Williams both unused substitutes in the 2-2 draw against Canada.
Canada was held to a 0-0 draw to Nigeria in their opening game of the competition at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. The side then travelled to Perth in search of their first win of the 2023 edition, picking up all three points against the Republic of Ireland.
The team fell behind early to the Girls in Green, with Katie McCabe scoring directly from a corner. Canada clawed back the equaliser just before the break, forcing an own goal from Megan Connolly.
Adriana Leon scored the matchwinner early in the second half to seal all three points and move to second on the ladder.
Canada v Australia
Date: Monday, 31 July 2023
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 8:00 pm (AEST)
Broadcast: Optus Sport and Channel 7