The first quarter belonged to the host nation as they peppered the Canadian net with chances. Up a man for the final ten minutes of the quarter, the Kookaburras capitalized on the opportunity scoring three goals in as many minutes.
In the New Zealand game, it was in the third quarter where Canada allowed three quick goals and today it was in the first quarter. Canada’s David Carter, who was brilliant in their 1-0 defeat over Scotland on Sunday, said allowing quick goals shouldn’t be looked at as a theme and expects the team to improve each game moving forward.
“In the New Zealand Game, it was about breakdowns through the middle of the field, and in this game, we definitely had a tough time dealing with their press when we were down a guy in the first quarter,” Carter said. “But I think once we got back to full strength, we played them pretty even for the rest of the game. So that’s something we can build off of.”
Canada’s best opportunity of the game came at the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter as Floris van Son struck a low backhand, but Australian goal keeper Tyler Levell was equal to the task. That moment was a microcosm of the whole game: Canada coming close but never able to quite connect. Australia added another marker in the fourth quarter, putting a dagger in Canada’s medal hopes. Carter said that Australia deserved their share of credit for the way they pressured Canada, especially in the first quarter.
“They’re one of the best pressing teams in the world. They’re fit and have a deep bench and they constantly pressure you,” he said. “We knew tonight’s games wasn’t going to be easy. They have to be credited for taking advantage of being a man up and capitalizing.”
The Red Caribou will immediately shift their focus as they play against South Africa in a critical game tomorrow. This will determine if Canada comes third in their pool, which would give them a shot at fifth place overall. Canada’s best all-time showing at the Commonwealth Games was sixth place in 2014. Carter knows in order to achieve the fifth place finish, they’ll need to go through two quality sides.
“We know we can beat South Africa but we have to prepare well and expect a tough game,” Carter said. “Honestly, we don’t need any extra motivation. We want to be in that fifth place game now and we want to come away with the win.”
When asked if his team needed to make any strategical adjustments forward, Carter’s sentiment was clear.
“For us, it’s all about putting 60 minutes together. No matter who we play, starting now, is going to be a strong side, so we’ll do our best to prepare and go after fifth place.”
Watch Canada take on South Africa in a must-win matchup live on www.dazn.com on Wednesday at 430am PDT (730am EDT).
Canada takes on the world number 1 ranked nation, Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo/Yan Huckendubler