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UEFA Women's Championship

'Spain, England or Germany will probably win the Euros' - Canada head coach Bev Priestman

18:09 GMT 23/02/2022
Alexia Putellas Jenni Hermoso Aitana Bonmati Spain Women 2022
After facing three teams considered among the contenders for the UEFA Women's Euro, the Canada coach gave her verdict on their chances this summer

Canada head coach Bev Priestman believes her team have “played a team that’s probably going to go on and win the Euros” in this month’s Arnold Clark Cup.

The Olympic gold medallists ended their campaign in the inaugural tournament with a 1-0 defeat to Spain on Wednesday afternoon after a goal from Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas. They had drawn with England and beaten Germany 1-0 before that.

After the final match, Priestman talked up Spain’s chances of going on to triumph at the UEFA Women’s Euro this summer, as well as England’s and Germany’s.

What has been said?

Speaking in her post-match press conference, the Canada coach said: “I thought in the second half, in reality, we had Spain camped in their half. I think that's a big ask. They are a top, top team.

“You talk about this tournament having teams for the Euros - we played a team that's probably going to go and win the Euros in one of the three teams we've played.

“I think Spain are more than [their FIFA ranking of] ninth [in the world] in terms of where they're at. In Europe, they're being talked about as the favourites to win the Euros and I definitely felt that in the first half. It definitely felt like a team that is very difficult.

“We've been known for our defensive prowess and, granted, there were some changes that impacted that. I made those purposefully in terms of experiences, first cap, change of the goalkeeper, etc. For me, I felt the first half was a fair reflection of that Spain team. They came as advertised.”

Canada’s bigger picture

Canada might have come into this tournament having won the Olympic gold medal in the summer, but Priestman accepted before the Arnold Clark Cup kicked off that she wouldn’t see any “perfect” performances, with lots of her team still in pre-season.

The team do leave having learned a lot though, especially with players needing to step up with the likes of Christine Sinclair, the greatest international goal-scorer of all time, missing.

“I think we've taken a step forward,” Priestman said, reflecting on the tournament as a whole.

“I feel like we found ways to get Ashley Lawrence higher. We've got more combinations and more trust in players. I think we've widened the depth. I've tested more players. I said coming into this, we come away with European experience. We've done that.

“I'm so glad we attended this tournament. I think we've got massive learnings and there's some players that have really had to step up. I must say, for some of those players that haven't kicked a ball since [games against] Mexico [in November], some of them have just gone and played three games and that's what this team is about.

“They love putting the shirt on. They'll give everything. They're braver than they've ever been. That's what I feel. I feel like we're ready to go after teams. It just didn't happen today.”

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