Canadians calm ahead of crucial Women’s World Cup match vs. Australia | CBC Sports

Two days before a match that will decide its future at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Canada exuded calm.

That despite news from Brisbane that Australia star striker Sam Kerr is fit to play against the Canadians in Monday’s Group B finale at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

“We’re ready to go. We’re excited,” midfielder Julia Grosso said after a team gym session Saturday. “We know this is a very important game, but I think this team always rises to the occasion with these big games.”

“I think there’s a calm confidence,” added centre back Shelina Zadorsky. “But we’re not naive to the fact that every game is a challenge.”

“Being Canada, we’ve been in this situation before,” said forward Cloe Lacasse. “We know what it’s all about.”

WATCH | Zadorsky says Canada filled with ‘calm confidence’:

Shelina Zadorsky says team Canada is filled with ‘calm confidence’

Centre back Shelina Zadorsky is confident in her team’s ability to win a tough match against Australia to ensure the team moving on at the women’s world cup.

The top two teams in each of the eight first-round groups advance to the knockout round. Canada (1-0-1) could finish anywhere from first to third in its pool.

The good news is the permutations favour the seventh-ranked Olympic champions. They will advance to the knockout round with a win or draw, and could even progress with a defeat, provided No. 40 Nigeria loses to No. 22 Ireland and the tiebreakers fall the right way.

The 10th-ranked Matildas (1-1-0) need to win to be certain of progressing. A draw will also work if Nigeria loses by two goals.

Australia has not gone out in the group stage since 2003. Canada’s last early exit was in 2011, when it failed to win a game and finished last in the tournament in a disastrous showing.

Nigeria just needs to avoid defeat to move on. The Super Falcons have the edge over Canada in goals scored and would finish atop the group if both teams win Monday.

And while Canada just needs a single point to move on, Lacasse says the team wants more.

“I don’t think we’re a team to settle for the minimum,” she said. “We’re not going to go in there wanting a draw. We want the (win), we want the three points and we want to be top of this group.”

WATCH | Lacasse confident in Canada’s gritty approach against Australia:

Canada’s Cloe Lacasse confident in Canada’s gritty approach against Australia

Forward Cloe Lacasse says the team is ready ahead of their big match against the Matilda’s of Australia at the women’s world cup.

Finishing atop the pool means avoiding the winner of Group D, with No. 4 England in the driver’s seat there. The Group B winner will face the runner-up in Group D, which is currently No. 13 Denmark by virtue of a tiebreaker over No. 14 China.

Canada also wants to make a statement by winning what is considered one of the toughest groups at the tournament.

“Every team in this group is a formidable opponent,” said Grosso. “Everyone showed that they belong at the World Cup … so to come out on top of this group, it’s going to be a very strong footing going forward.”

Canada is 8-7-3 all-time against Australia and has won the last three meetings, including last year’s 1-0 and 2-1 victories in Brisbane and Sydney, respectively. The Canadians are 6-2-2 against the Matildas this century.

WATCH | Grosso is ‘excited and ready to go’:

Julia Grosso is ‘excited and ready to go’

Canada women’s soccer midfielder is ready to take on Australia at the world cup of soccer.

Adriana Leon scored all three goals in the two most recent victories.

The Canadians rallied for a 2-1 comeback victory over Ireland after playing Nigeria to a scoreless draw in their tournament opener. Australia was upset 3-2 by Nigeria after edging Ireland 1-0.

Asked if the tournament has seen the best of Canada, Grosso said there’s “lots to come.”

There are some questions still to be answered with the health of the team. Captain Christine Sinclair limped off the field after an impactful spell as a second-half substitute against Ireland, while centre back Kadeisha Buchanan, dealing with illness and taking a ball to the torso, exited early.

WATCH | Soccer North previews Canada’s match against Australia:

Australia vs Canada World Cup preview | Soccer North

Canada will play Australia in the Group B finale to see who will finish top of the table. Australia goes into the match being heavy favourites because of the home-soil advantage.

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