22/04/2024

Head Coach Bev Priestman is all smiles at a training session. (Photo Credit: Canada Soccer)

For Canada, much like Australia, time is running out as the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup approaches. 

The decision to play Australia in this international window was a deliberate one for Canada for a multitude of reasons, such as adapting to the climate, preparing in the country they will play the World Cup in, as well as getting some playing experience against one of the two host countries, who will be favoured to win the tournament.

“It’s our first window since we’ve officially qualified, [and it’s] really fitting to come to a World Cup location,” Head Coach Bev Priestman said ahead of the second match against the Matildas.

“I think it feels like it’s going to be a spectacular event.

“I look at the game in Brisbane and I know it was a big event going on [in] and around Brisbane, but you still got 25,000 spectacular fans.

“For us, it’s been a brilliant exercise. You look at this brand new stadium. That’s going to be phenomenal to play in and know that you could be here as a team, the jet lag, the time zones, familiarity of a lot of things.

“For us, it’s been incredibly powerful and although in many ways it’s a tough window, players going into the season in Europe, I think you speak to those players, and they’re like ‘Bev, I’m so glad we came here to experience this’ and it does build that excitement.

“You know Australia and New Zealand are going to put on a fantastic show and I felt that the other night, so hopefully we’ll feel the same tomorrow.”

This was something that was also noted by Quinn when they spoke to The Inner Sanctum.

“It’s nice that we’ve had our qualifiers behind us and I think now we’re just really focusing on the World Cup at hand,” Quinn said.

“So that’s been great to have a singular focus and get the team together.

“It’s really nice, especially here in Australia, being able to experience the climate, the places that we’re going to be in. I think that’s an added bonus to us, so we’re really grateful for that opportunity.”

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For Priestman, one of the most important things she does as a coach is look after the health of the players, both on and off the pitch.

On the pitch, that involves things like rotating the squad around, not pushing players if she does not think they could cope with playing for whatever reason, whether that be injury or otherwise, and developing partnerships amongst the playing group.

Off the pitch, that involves making sure the players get an opportunity to take in the country the squad is visiting and the culture that comes with that.

“Yesterday (Sunday) we arrived [in Sydney] the night after the game, so I gave the players yesterday [off],” Priestman said.

“Obviously we did recovery and review, but then the afternoon [off].

“I’ve lived in this part of the world, not Australia, but it’s a brilliant place to be and people got to see and feel that culture.

“I always talk about when you go into major tournaments we’re going to have the summer of our life, we’ll make memories, [and] that’s just as important.

“You can spend your life on the road and not see a thing, and I want to make sure that the group get to appreciate this part of the world.

“It’s been brilliant, the people are lovely and we’re really excited to come to the World Cup because of that.”

Quinn with their Olympic gold medal following Canada’s victory at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo Credit: thequinny5 – Instagram)

For Quinn, being able to take advantage of the limited time the team has in Australia off-field has been something they have enjoyed.

“It’s been fantastic,” they said honestly.

“We’ve had great accommodations and it’s been quite an easy, seamless camp for us.

“Obviously it’s a quick turnaround so we haven’t been able to explore the sights and sounds of Australia as much as we would have liked, but it’s been fun having our off day yesterday and getting to go out and see a couple of things here in Sydney.

“It’s just been very welcoming. We’ve been just really surprised at how welcoming everyone is.”

There was one thing however that both Priestman and Quinn were more than happy to point out about Australia. Coffee.

“I’ve already spoken to how good the coffee is in Australia,” Priestman said.

“How fantastic the coffee is, it’s an added bonus for us,” Quinn said.

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