June 18th, 2024

Barring job action, Canadian women to play April soccer friendly in France

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on February 21, 2023.

Canada's Christine Sinclair, right, celebrates with Ashley Lawrence after the opening goal against Trinidad and Tobago during a CONCACAF Women's Championship soccer match in Monterrey, Mexico, Tuesday, July 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Fernando Llano

Barring job action, the Canadian women will face France in Le Mans during the April FIFA international window, Canada Soccer announced Tuesday.

The April 11 game is to take place at Marie-Marvingt Stadium. The French are ranked fifth in the world while the Canadians are sixth.

“Playing a top team like France heading into a World Cup gives us the opportunity to see where we’re at, learn and test ourselves,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said in a statement. “We also know the importance and prevalence of European opposition at the World Cup so it will add to our great experiences, as it’s been three years since playing France.”

The Canadian women have threatened to boycott the April camp unless their grievances are addressed.

They want the same backing and preparation ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as the men did before Qatar. Both women’s and men’s teams also want Canada Soccer to open its books and to explain why their programs are being cut in 2023.

The women refused to train in advance of the SheBelieves Cup, only to be forced back to the field by threats of legal action by Canada Soccer, which said they were not in a legal position to strike. That should not be the case come April.

They are playing the four-team tournament, which wraps up Wednesday in Texas, under protest.

Canada has played France 15 times, with an all-time 5-7-3 record. The French won 1-0 the last time they met, in March 2020 in Calais just before the pandemic hit.

Canada has won just one of the last six meetings (1-4-1) since a 1-0 victory over the French in the bronze-medal game at the 2012 London Olympics. The Canadians downed France 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2106 Rio Olympics.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2023.

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