Canada exits SheBelieves Cup on sour note with shutout loss to Brazil

Canada paid for some slack defending in the first half Wednesday, beaten 2-0 by Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup.

The Canadian women were second-best for much of the game at Exploria Stadium.

Debinha and Julia scored for Brazil, which punished Canadian mistakes in the tournament finale for both teams. After an uneven start, the Brazilians took control and showed their attacking flair against a Canadian backline that was pretty green other than centre back Shelina Zadorsky.

Brazil played deeper as the second half wore on, allowing the Canadians more room on attack in the final minutes. They could not convert, although Zadorsky came close in the 84th minute, kicking out a leg twice while on the ground to force consecutive goal-line stops from goalkeeper Barbara and defender Bruna off a Janine Beckie set piece.

WATCH | Canada blanked by Brazil:

Debinha scored the game-winner in the 15th minute, as Brazil went on to shut out Canada 2-0 at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Fla. 1:32

The two teams came into Wednesday’s game tied for eighth in the world rankings, with 8-8-7 records against each other. They drew 2-2 last March when they last met, at a tournament in France in Canada’s last outing prior to the SheBelieves Cup.

Canada opened the Florida tournament with a 1-0 loss to the top-ranked United States before defeating No. 31 Argentina 1-0. Brazil beat Argentina 4-1 and lost 2-0 to the U.S.

The defending champion Americans (2-0-0) faced Argentina (0-2-0) in the late game Wednesday.

The Canadian women’s next game is an April 13 away friendly against No. 6 England.

Coach Bev Priestman made four changes to her starting lineup, with Desiree Scott, Deanne Rose, Sarah Stratigakis and Jayde Riviere coming in against Brazil. Scott captained the team in place of Sophie Schmidt.

WATCH | Canada earns lone win against Argentina:

Canada picked up its first win at the SheBelieves Cup and the 1st victory under Bev Priestman. 1:15

The starting 11 came into the match with a combined 604 caps, with Scott accounting for 157 of those. Schmidt came on during second-half stoppage time for her 202nd cap.

Canada showed more purpose in the early going, stroking the ball around and stretching the Brazilians. But Brazil went ahead in the 14th minute after a giveaway by 18-year-old centre back Jade Rose, earning her second cap.

Adriana outmuscled Jessie Fleming for the ball and, after a nice interplay with Debinha, charged into the Canadian penalty box and slid a diagonal shot through goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe’s legs from close range. The ball hit the far post and bounced back towards the shooter, with Debinha poking it into goal before Labbe and Zadorsky could corral it.

Another goalie hurt

It looked like more bad news for Canada in the 27th minute when Labbe went down, clutching her calf after planting her leg expecting a shot. Labbe stayed on, however, while the uncapped Rylee Foster — the only other goalkeeper left in the Canadian camp after injuries to Erin McLeod and Kailen Sheridan — warmed up on the sideline.

The goal spurred Brazil on and Canada paid for some more sloppy defence late in the half. Julia hammered home a shot in the 39th minute after a penalty box scramble that saw Rose, Riviere and Gabrielle Carle all unable to clear the ball.

Nichelle Prince had a chance to pull one back soon after a clearance by Barbara went straight to a Canadian. But Prince’s long-range effort did not make it on target.

Adriana’s shot from distance hit the crossbar in the 45th minute, thanks to a touch from an outstretched Labbe.

Brazil outshot Canada 8-1 (3-0 in shots on target) in the first half and had 58 per cent possession.

Canada brought on Evelyne Viens and Jordyn Listro to start the second half. Brazil, meanwhile, gave both Debinha and Marta the second half off.

Riviere limped off in the 56th minute, favouring her knee, giving way to Lindsay Agnew at right back. Canada came close in the 72st minute but sliding substitute Adriana Leon could not get a foot to a low cross from Beckie, perhaps Canada’s best player on the day.

Canada went into the tournament missing injured captain Christine Sinclair and midfielder Diana Matheson. McLeod, Sheridan and defender Bianca St-Georges subsequently were hurt and dropped out.

Defenders Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence and forward Jordyn Huitema were not released by their French clubs because of pandemic-related quarantine issues. Defender Vanessa Gilles returned to her French club after the loss to the U.S. as part of a pre-tournament agreement.

With players missing, Priestman used the tournament to give Listro, Viens, Jade Rose and Samantha Chang their first caps with the senior side.

The only four Canadians to start all three games at the tournament were Zadorsky, Fleming, Beckie and Prince.

Allysha Chapman and Quinn, who goes by one name, were unavailable Wednesday due to injury.

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