The CanWNT’s World Cup expectations will be high this year. After winning Olympic gold in the last Summer Olympics, the reigning champions will look to continue that momentum in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Canada is the highest ranked team of the four teams in the group, as they are currently ranked seventh in the world according to the FIFA Rankings.
The CanWNT World Cup Preview And What To Expect in 2023
Australia – Ranked 10th in the World
— CommBank Matildas (@TheMatildas) July 3, 2023
On paper, Canada’s toughest opponent in the group and the co-hosts of this FIFA Women’s World Cup, Australia will be a team to be reckoned with. A NWSL player that people might know is Alex Chidiac, who currently plays for the Racing Louisville FC since 2022. Chidiac is 24-years-old, and is a midfielder for the team. She is currently still with Louisville, but was at one point loaned to Melbourne Victory. She currently has two goals in 18 games for Louisville and six goals in 13 games for Melbourne Victory.
Chidiac was not part of the Australian roster for the Olympics in 2021. So, this moment will be special for her as she makes her first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance. The change with Melbourne Victory might have been the change the Australian needed (source: Steph Yang of The Athletic):
“I had a coach that really trusted me and was patient with what I had been through and really wanted to build my confidence back up again,” she said. “And I needed it at that point. And from being shown that kindness and respect from my teammates, that’s where I was able to thrive, really, and give everything back to them because I wanted to do that for them.”
“It was funny, at half time I had a chat with Chids, and said there’s goals out there for you this half. I wasn’t expecting it from there, but we’ll definitely take it. It’s good to see her get on the scoresheet because she’s been in really good form. That’s a good reward for her endeavours over the first few rounds.”
Another player to watch is 29-year-old, Samantha Kerr, who plays the forward position for both the FA Women’s. Kerr is a forward and the face of the Matildas and will be a player to watch for many reasons. Australia’s best appearance was in the 2007, 2011, and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cups, where they lost in the quarterfinals stage. However, in terms of placements, their best appearance was in 2007, where they finished sixth overall. This will be Australia’s eighth appearance in a FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Republic of Ireland – 22nd in the World
— FAI Women (@FAIWomen) June 28, 2023
This is the Republic of Ireland’s first-ever appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. A player that North Americans might have heard of is NWSL’s Marissa Sheva, who currently plays for the Washington Spirit. This is what the Spirit player said about playing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup (source: Neil O’Riordan of The Irish Sun):
They also have many players playing in England. One of them is their captain, Katie McCabe. She plays for Arsenal, where she has scored 19 goals in 119 appearances. The 27-year-old, who can play several positions, will be depended on by the Irish in their debut in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Lastly, there is Amber Barrett, who helped Ireland qualify for their first FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance by scoring a goal against Scotland, which ended up being the only goal scored in the game. The forward and 27-year-old, has scored seven goals for her country in 36 appearances. She now plays for Standard Liège in Belgium.
Nigeria – 40th in the World
— NGSuper_Falcons (@NGSuper_Falcons) June 16, 2023
This will be Nigeria’s ninth-straight appearance in a FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is also the only nation of the four teams in the group to qualify for every single FIFA Women’s World Cup. Nigeria participated in the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. In that tournament, Nigeria finished fourth. They made the FIFA Women’s World Cup by beating Cameron by a scoreline of 1-0 in the quarterfinals stage of the competition. There are three players on this roster that plays for the NWSL. Interestingly, all three players can play the forward, although Michelle Alozie of the Houston Dash, can also play defender.
Uchenna Kanu is probably the player to watch out for in Canada’s perspective. She has scored six goals in 18 appearances for her national team. She started playing for Racing Louisville earlier this year. Kanu first debut was actually in a 2-1 loss against Canada on April 8, 2019. Ifeoma Onumomu has had success in the NWSL, scoring eight goals in 24 appearances for the NY/NJ Gotham, and has also scored two goals for Nigeria. Alozie is another player for the Dash who has scored three goals for her local team and one goal for Nigeria. The Super Falcon’s best performance was in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where they lost in the quarterfinals stage of the competition and finished seventh overall in the competition.
The Canadians are familiar with both Nigeria and Australia. In fact, last year, the CanWNT played against Nigeria twice at home and twice on the road against Australia on the road.
Canada won the first game at BC Place against Nigeria 2-0, but drew the second game at Starlight Stadium, with some glaring and rare goalkeeping mistakes made in that game. Those two games are the only two games ever played between the two nations.
The CanWNT would later win two games against Australia, including Adriana Leon playing a huge role in the win in both games. Canada and Australia met each other in some important games. The most recent one is Canada’s 2-0 victory over the Australians in the 2016 Summer Olympics. There was also a 2-2 draw in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup between the two teams. The Australians last won against Canada in an international friendly in 2008.
Also, with the Republic of Ireland, both teams only met each other once back in 2014, when Canada emerged as 2-1 winners over Ireland.
How Canada Got to the FIFA Women’s World Cup
The CanWNT got to the FIFA Women’s World Cup after a dominant group stage performance where they won all three games. The 1-0 win over Panama was the game that clinched it for Canada to automatically qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The roster reveal was broken down thoroughly in an article seen above. It will be interesting to see how these players do in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including Kailen Sheridan, who will be replacing Stephanie Labbe as the starting goalkeeper for Canada.
PREDICTION: CanWNT Loses in the Round of 16
It is very unclear how Canada will do. With the problems with the federation, their play has fallen as seen in the SheBelieves Cup. However, it is clear there was something positive happening before then, including the two wins on the road against Australia. Unfortunately for Canada, Australia is in good form and has recent wins against both England and France. Canada will probably finish second in group-stage play and then lose to England in the Round of 16. Saying that Canada is the reigning Olympic gold medalist.
They do have what it takes to go deep in the tournament but do need to find the form that they had late last year. Canada’s best performance was in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where they finished fourth in that competition. Adriana Leon will likely be a player that Canada will need to lean on as the FIFA Women’s World Cup is less than a week away.
Games Coming up for the CanWNT
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) July 9, 2023
The CanWNT are slated to play their first game at 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday against Nigeria at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in Melbourne. They will then travel to Perth (Perth Rectangular Stadium) to face the Irish at 8:00 AM ET on July 26 before finishing off their group play against hosts, Australia, at Lang Park in Brisbane, Australia at 6:00 AM ET on July 31. All games will be televised nationally on TSN and also be shown on French-Canadian channels on RDS.
Photo Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports, of an Adriana Leon Headshot, on February 22, 2023.