Canada WNT ready for Korea Republic

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Canada will face a familiar foe in Korea Republic to open the 2015 Shenzhen Women’s International Tournament in China PR. It will be the first of Canada’s three matches in the four-team, round-robin tournament that runs 11-15 January.

Canada will face Korea Republic at 16.00 local on Sunday 11 January (03.00 ET / 00.00 PT) at the Shenzhen Bao’an Sports Center.

Following the Canada-Korea Republic match, hosts China will face Mexico at 19.30 local.

“We want to put our best foot forward and get off to a great start,” said Canadian head coach John Herdman. “We want to finish top in the group, no different from what we want to do at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.”

This will be the third international meeting between the two sides since 2013, with Korea Republic having won the encounter on 14 January 2013 and Canada having won the home match on 30 October 2013. In 2014, Canada posted an international record of four wins, two draws and five losses while Korea Republic posted a record of 12 wins, four draws and three losses (including FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ Qualifiers).

They have some top players like the FA WSL Players’ Player of the Year winner Ji Soyun (Chelsea FC) playing up front, so we have to be able to deal with that,” said Herdman.

Korea Republic have a relatively young group, with coach Yoon Dukyeo carrying just two players from the nation’s only previous participation in the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ finals at USA 2003: goalkeeper Kim Jungmi, who was the WK-League Championship MVP in 2014, and striker Park Eunseon, who recently transferred to Russia to play for WFC Rossiyanka. Korea Republic also have more than a handful of players that, at the youth level, won medals at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010 (bronze) and FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010 (gold).

Both Canada and Korea Republic are expected to rotate their roster throughout the tournament, with only a day’s rest in between each of the matches.

“Slowly we have wiped away some of the cobwebs over the last few days and the player energies are back up again and we are excited to get back on the pitch,” said Herdman.

Since arriving in Shenzhen, China PR, Canada will have had three on-field training sessions in advance of Sunday’s opening match (Thursday-Friday-Saturday). Following Canada’s opening match on 11 January, Canada will then face Mexico on 13 January and China PR on 15 January.

This summer, Canada will play their FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ group matches in Edmonton and Montréal while Korea Republic will play their group matches in Montréal and Ottawa.

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Scott Harrigan
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