Your guide to the Matildas’ friendly against Canada: Everything you need to know

The Matildas are in action for the final time in 2023, when they face Canada in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon (AEDT). Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the contest with the Olympic Gold medallists.

Australia will be looking to end the calendar year on a high when they face Canada for the second time in a week at BC Place.

Tony Gustavsson’s side fell to a crushing 5-0 defeat against the reigning Olympic Gold medallists in Langford, with the Matildas fielding an experimental starting XI against an almost full-strength Canada.

The Swede was criticised for his decision to rest a host of his starters and throw many inexperienced senior internationals in the deep end, but Gustavsson has hinted at a stronger Matildas lineup in this week’s friendly.

Canada will also farewell one of the greatest footballers of all-time in Christine Sinclair, who will play the final match of her distinguished international career – with the Vancouver venue being renamed ‘Christine Sinclair Place’ to honour the football legend.

CANADA 5-0 MATILDAS: Experimental Matildas side falls to five-goal demolition at the hands of Canada
FOORD: Matildas star reveals New Year’s resolutions after ‘falling short’ in 2023: ‘Hungry for more’

When are the Matildas playing?

Canada v Matildas
Date: Tuesday, 5 December 2023 (local) / Wednesday, 6 December (AEDT)
Kick-off: 7.00pm PST (local) / 2.00pm (AEDT)
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver

How can I watch?

The match will be available live and free on Network 10 and Paramount+.

Team news

Tony Gustavsson has hinted that a much stronger Matildas lineup will take the field in Vancouver.

The Swede’s messaging throughout the December window has been clear, as he looks to use this opportunity to “gain players” heading into the Paris Olympics and manage the loads of some of the senior Matildas.

As a result, he made sweeping changes for the clash against the reigning Olympic gold medallists at Starlight Stadium, picking an experimental XI for the first of two friendlies in the west of Canada.

Charlize Rule and Sarah Hunter were handed first starts, while Gustavsson blooded fringe Matildas including Remy Siemsen, Teagan Micah, Clare Wheeler, Amy Sayer, Alex Chidiac and Courtney Nevin who have little national team experience.

Clare Polkinghorne, Tameka Yallop and Aivi Luik were the only starters with more than 40 caps to their name.

However, the likes of Mary Fowler, Ellie Carpenter, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, Alanna Kennedy, Steph Catley, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Emily van Egmond and Katrina Gorry will all be in line to feature from the first minute after being among the substitutes during the 5-0 drubbing on the weekend.

Gorry missed the final training session on Tuesday due to illness, but is expected to be available for selection.

Matildas squad

GOALKEEPERS: Teagan Micah, Lydia Williams, Jada Whyman

DEFENDERS: Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Clare Hunt, Clare Polkinghorne, Courtney Nevin, Alanna Kennedy, Charlize Rule, Aivi Luik

MIDFIELDERS: Alex Chidiac, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Mary Fowler, Katrina Gorry, Sarah Hunter, Amy Sayer, Emily Van Egmond, Clare Wheeler, Tameka Yallop

FORWARDS: Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, Remy Siemsen

Gustavsson’s future

Tony Gustavsson’s future had been the talk of the town leading into the friendlies against Canada.

Gustavsson is rumoured to have been interviewed for the vacant role of the head coach of the Sweden men’s national team to replace the departing Janne Andersson, according to reports from Swedish newspaper Sportbladet. 

He had initially been linked to the vacant United States women’s national team (USWNT) head coaching role, but Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has since been appointed.

GUSTAVSSON: ‘We need an answer’ – Fascinating Dub Zone debate ignited by rumours of Matildas coach’s exit

As it stands, Gustavsson is contracted until the Paris 2024 Olympics and when asked about the various reports, he restated his commitment to the squad. 

“I’m passionate about the Commbank Matildas and, as I have stated before. I’m fully focused on qualification and participation at the Paris 2024 Olympics,” he said.

“Our team’s journey towards this goal is my primary focus and commitment.” 

Opposition report

World Ranking: 10

Canada will be looking to end 2023 on a high note and complete a clean sweep of the Matildas.

Bev Priestman’s side exacted an iota of revenge for their World Cup elimination at the hands of Australia back in July with a 5-0 win in Langford.

Nichelle Prince was deadly in front of goal, scoring a brace in the first-half, before Cloe Lacasse, Simi Awujo and Adriana Leon put the result beyond doubt after the break.

However, it’s expected to be a much more competitive matchup in Vancouver with the Matildas expected to field a much stronger side from the first minute.

The match will also be the last in the international career of one of the all-time greats – Christine Sinclair.

Sinclair retires as Canada’s all-time leading appearance maker, and in the history of international football. No player has scored more goals for their nation than the 190 accredited to Sinclair across her 329 ‘A’ internationals.

A 14-time Canada Soccer Player of the Year, Sinclair has captained her nation since 2006, going to six World Cups, 10 CONCACAF tournaments and four Olympic Games, winning gold at the Tokyo Games in 2021.

Sinclair is one of only four winners of the FIFA Special Award for outstanding career achievement.

The award was bestowed upon her in 2021 for breaking the record of most international goals scored by a female footballer; Cristiano Ronaldo was granted the same honour for his achievement in the men’s game, with his current tally of 128 goals some 62 shy of Sinclair’s incredible tally of 190.

BC Place in Vancouver – Sinclair’s hometown – will be renamed ‘Christine Sinclair Place’ for the friendly on December 5.

Sophie Schmidt will also play her final game for the national team, retiring from international football with 225 caps to her name.

There’s also a couple familiar faces for A-Leagues fans in the Canada squad, including Melbourne City goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx and Shelina Zadorsky – who spent a year with Perth Glory between 2014-15.

Canada squad

GOALKEEPERS: Kailen Sheridan, Sabrina D’Angelo, Lysianne Proulx

DEFENDERS: Sydney Collins, Kadeisha Buchanan, Shelina Zadorsky, Jayde Riviere, Ashley Lawrence, Vanessa Gilles, Gabrielle Carle, Jade Rose, Bianca St-Georges

MIDFIELDERS: Quinn, Sophie Schmidt, Jessie Fleming, Simi Awujo, Jeneva Hernandez Gray

FORWARDS: Jordyn Huitema, Christine Sinclair, Nichelle Prince, Adriana Leon, Cloe Lacasse, Olivia Smith, Latifah Abdu