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Janine Beckie: Canada vs. Brazil has become a special rivalry

Janine Beckie: Canada vs. Brazil has become a special rivalry John Molinaro | @JohnMolinaro ...

Janine Beckie: Canada vs. Brazil has become a special rivalry

John Molinaro | @JohnMolinaro September 1, 2018, 8:26 AM John Molinaro @JohnMolinaro September 1, 2018, 8:26 AM

Ottawa’s TD Place Stadium holds a special place in the heart of Canadian forward Janine Beckie.

One of this country’s brightest young players, Beckie has scored 22 times in 44 appearances for the Canadian women’s team since making her debut in 2014, including three goals at the 2016 Games in Rio.

But one of her best goals for Canada came in a tune-up contest against Brazil in Ottawa prior to the Olympic tournament. With the match looking destined to finish in a draw, Beckie latched onto a through ball near the edge of the box from Diana Matheson in central midfield and chipped the rushing goalkeeper. With the last kick of the game, deep into injury time, she gave Canada a 1-0 win.

TD Place Stadium is also where older brother Drew, who has appeared for Canada’s Olympic team, called home while playing for the Ottawa Fury from 2014 to 2015 in the second-tier NASL.

Beckie is set to return to the site of one of her best moments for the national team, as Canada hosts Brazil in an international friendly on Sunday afternoon.

“Ottawa is special to me. My brother played for two years in that stadium, and I scored against Brazil there, so this is a special place for me and my family. Hopefully I can score one or two more this weekend,” Beckie told Sportsnet.

It’s a been a whirlwind month for Beckie, who has barely had time to catch her breath.

In early August, she completed a transfer from Sky Blue FC of the U.S.-based Nation Women’s Soccer League to Manchester City of the FA Women’s Super League in England. On Aug. 20, she celebrated her 24th birthday. Last week, just three days after arriving in England, she scored on her debut for Manchester City in a 4-0 win over Leicester City. Now, she’s in the nation’s capital, ready to represent her country.

The transfer to Manchester City came about very quickly, but it’s a move the Canadian wanted to make.

“All of this has been a big change, good change, but it’s happened in a short period of time. [Playing in Europe] is the dream position for me, and it’s something I’ve wanted for a very long time,” Beckie admitted.

A collegiate star at Texas Tech, she was selected eighth overall by the Houston Dash at the 2016 NWSL college draft. Houston traded her to Sky Blue FC in January.

Beckie is the latest Canadian to head to Europe, joining defender Kadeisha Buchanan (Lyon) and midfielder Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain), who both made the move last year. Playing in France and the Champions League has helped Buchanan and Lawrence become stronger players, which benefits Canada’s national team. Beckie is hoping playing in England and in the Champions League with Manchester City can have the same impact on her development as a player.

“Kadeisha and Ashley have been there for a few years, so to have other Canadian players competing in the Champions League, it’s huge and exiting for us as a team. Hopefully it encourages others to make the move, and have [the Canadian team] a little bit more cultured,” Beckie offered.

As for Sunday’s game, it’s a not only a rematch from their contest two years ago in Ottawa, but also from the 2016 Olympics when Canada trumped Brazil 2-1 in the bronze-medal game.

In total, they’ve clashed 20 times since their first meeting in 1996, with each side earning seven wins. Canada is currently No. 5 in the FIFA world rankings, two spots above Brazil.

“It’s become a bit of a rivalry between us. Brazil is always an opponent we get excited to play. You always know you’re going to get a quality performance from them… It’s never a blowout, the games are always close. The last time we played them was for the bronze medal, so they have something to prove here on Sunday on our home soil after we beat them on theirs at the Olympics,” Beckie affirmed.

Canada last saw action on June 10 in a 3-2 loss to Germany at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field. Like that game against the No. 2-ranked Germans, Sunday’s contest with Brazil is being used by Canadian coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller to prepare his team for the upcoming World Cup qualifying tournament. Canada will compete at the Concacaf women’s championship, which runs from Oct. 4-17, in hopes of qualifying for next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

“Brazil is very different from teams we’ve already faced this year, like France and Germany, who play a very technical style. Brazil is very cheeky, very creative players. I like to say they play with no defenders because everyone on their team is an attacker, which fits their style very well,” Beckie stated.

“But they’ve taken a step in being a better defensive unit â€" that’s something that’s a bit new, so it’s something we have to pay a bit more attention to than in the past. It’s a good team to prepare us for World Cup qualifying.”

Source: Google News Canada | Netizen 24 Canada

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