PREVIEW: Canada v Australia – FIFA Women’s World Cup Team News, Predicted Lineups and Where to Watch

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium will host a nailbiting Group B clash on Monday, as Australia look to avoid an embarrassing early exit from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil. With both qualification spots still up for grabs in Group B, this should be a truly exciting clash with plenty of action at both ends of the pitch.

Canada’s tournament opened with a goalless draw against Nigeria, in a match that saw Christine Sinclair’s penalty saved by the ever-impressive Chiamaka Nnadozie. Bev Priestman’s side were forced to settle for a point, despite Deborah Abiodun being shown a straight red card for a terrible challenge on Chelsea’s Ashley Lawrence.

It looked as though bad would turn to worse for the Canadians in their second match against the Republic of Ireland, though they were able to come from behind to clinch all three points in a dramatic win. Katie McCabe opened the scoring with an emphatic Olimpico effort straight from the corner after just four minutes, though Megan Connolly’s own goal on the stroke of half-time swung the momentum in Canada’s favour.

Less than ten minutes into the second half, Adriana Leon fired Canada into the lead – superbly holding off pressure from Katie McCabe as she slammed an effort past Courtney Brosnant to confirm the all-important three points.

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Australia were dealt a colossal blow ahead of their opening match against the Republic of Ireland, with their star striker, Sam Kerr, announcing that she would miss their first two games due to an injury sustained in training. Against a valiant Irish side, it took a Steph Catley penalty in the second half to confirm victory for the Matildas – who truthfully had looked second-best against Vera Pauw’s side.

Yet against Nigeria, the Matildas were on the receiving end of a second-half mauling. Despite Emily van Edmond firing the Aussies in first-half stoppage time, Uchenna Kanu levelled the game on the stroke of the interval – and it was the Super Falcons that emerged from the break as the stronger of the two sides.

Osinachi Ohale put Nigeria ahead in the 65th minute, with Barça Femení’s Asisat Oshoala adding the third mere minutes later to put Randy Waldrum’s side on course for a historic victory. Alanna Kennedy bagged late in stoppage time, but it was too little, too late for Australia – as they fell to third in the group.

A win for either side would confirm their participation in the round-of-sixteen, while a draw would see Canada progress. Theoretically, Australia could also progress with a draw – though that would rely on Ireland defeating Nigeria.

Team news

Sam Kerr always insisted that her fitness would be reviewed ahead of the final group stage fixture, and the Chelsea striker issued a statement that she was raring to go and would be fit to appear against Canada.

That appears to have been contradicted somewhat by Tony Gustavsson, who indicated in his pre-match press conference that he wouldn’t be able to make a decision on Kerr’s involvement until they arrived at the stadium on matchday.

Whether that is true, or if the Australian Head Coach is simply playing mind games, remains to be seen – but his squad will likely be bolstered by the return of Aivi Luik and Mary Fowler, who have both recovered from concussion.

As for Canada, they’re expected to name an unchanged lineup.

Predicted lineups

Canada: Sheridan; Riviere, Lawrence, Gilles, Buchanan; Quinn, Grosso, Fleming; Viens, Leon, Huitema

Australia: Arnold; Catley, Kennedy, Hunt, Carpenter; Vine, Gorry, Cooney-Cross, Raso; Foord, van Egmond

Where can I watch?

Kick-off in Melbourne is scheduled for 11:00am on Monday, 31st July 2023. The coverage will begin at 10:45am on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.