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Buchanan returns, as Canadian women’s soccer reveals player pool for final pre-Tokyo camp

Call it the last opportunity to impress. Call it crunch time. For members of the Canadian women’s national soccer team, there are few opportunities left to crack the 18-player roster for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and a big one will come next month.  

With less than two months before the Games, coach Bev Priestman disclosed her pool of 28 players for the team’s final camp and two exhibition matches in June in Cartagena, Spain. The final roster for Tokyo will be announced 10 days after. 

All the usual suspects will be in attendance, with the exception of veteran midfielder Diana Matheson, who has all but been ruled out of the Tokyo Games due to a long-standing foot injury. The 37-year-old two-time Olympic bronze medalist from Oakville, Ont., who scored the iconic winning goal in London 2012 versus France, also missed the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and hasn’t played a game for Canada since March 2020. 

Given Tokyo is two months away, Priestman said Matheson’s injury is not where it needs to be.  

“Unfortunately it’s going to be very unlikely for Tokyo for Diana, which is a great loss for Canada and for this particular tournament,” Priestman said on a media call with reporters Thursday. “Her experience, just what she brings to the group, I don’t really need to touch on that, but unfortunately, I don’t think she’s going to be ready for Tokyo.”   

One piece of good news sees reigning Canadian player of the year Kadeisha Buchanan of powerhouse Lyon back in the fold after missing two previous camps due to travel and medical reasons. 

Captain Christine Sinclair, who is off to a great start with club Portland with two goals in three matches, is back to full strength after picking up an injury in a match versus Wales in early April.

As part of the preparations, No. 8 Canada will play two friendlies, against No. 27 Czech Republic on June 11 and No. 7 Brazil on June 14.

Canada starts their quest for a third-consecutive Olympic medal on July 21 versus No. 11 hosts Japan at the Sapporo Dome. Canada then plays No. 37 Chile on July 24 at the Sapporo Dome and Great Britain on July 27 at Kashima Stadium.

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