Make that 4 in a row.
Earlier this month Canada played in the Cyprus Cup involving 12 countries. Unfortunately there was no television coverage or web feeds covering Canada's matches so us fans had to rely on the wonderful world of twitter and @CanadaSoccerEN tweets. Big Red competed against Scotland in their first match and won 1-0; goal by Zurrer. The result did not reflect the game as Canada dominated the majority of the match and could have scored a lot more.
In their second game, Canada squared off against coach Morace's former team, Italy. I'm sure it was kind of weird for the squad to play the Italians, especially for the coaching staff since the majority of them are Italian but when it comes down to it, red and white is all that matters. Rising young star, Jonelle Filigno scored the game winner. Reports indicate Canada dominated the first half, but let up in the second allowing Italy more time and space on the ball. In situations like this, I am so happy the team lifted their boycott to be able to play in games and work on weak spots before the big dance. In the end, Canada prevailed and captured the W.
Canada's next victim was England. A win or draw would advance Canada to the finals. Morace instilled a new formation 4-1-4-1 and was very pleased with the way her team played and adjusted to the system. She stated "We believe in ourselves more. And England are in the middle of their season and so they are more prepared than us. It was an important win." Canada's goal scorers were captain Christine Sinclair and returning midfielder Brittany Timko. Fan's across Canada were uberly excited to see not only Canada make it to the finals again but to see players such as Timko stepping up. The win gained Canada its 4th consecutive Cyprus Cup final.
Playing for gold is something Canada is used to. However, no team is used to playing in unpredictable weather and that's just what they were faced with. On a cold, windy, wet Wednesday night, Canada squared off against Holland to defend their Cyprus Cup championship. Filigno capitalized on a Dutch miscue caused by the wind and buried the ball in the net. Holland tied it up in the 40th on a rare mistake by Matheson. In the second half Canada played better but did not have the wind to their advantage. Of course in true Canadian style they did not let obstacles phase them. Unfortunately for Canada, returning goalkeeper McLeod got injured on a dangerous run by Holland in the 89th minute and was replaced by Labbe. Morace claimed "It was nothing serious, but we have three very good goalkeepers." The game was taken to extra time. Both sides had equal chances but were shut down by sharp 'keepers Labbe and Guerts. In the 99th minute, Big Red was awarded a corner kick and Zurrer capitalized on what only was described as a "sick" goal giving Canada a 2-1 victory to maintain their Cyprus Cup reign.
Notes: Welcome back to one of my favourite 'keepers Erin McLeod. Nice to see her back preparing for the World Cup after suffering a knee injury last year. I haven't heard if she's still hurt or not. So keep an eye out for that. Also suffering a similar knee injury last year, Britttany Timko is back killin it on the pitch. Last December she was subbed in one of Canada's matches in Brazil and it seems as though recovery is going well and leaning toward more playing time. Things are only looking up for Canada!