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Canada vs. Ireland live: Canada wins 2-1 over Ireland

Welcome to The Globe’s coverage of Canada’s second appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Just four minutes in, Katie McCabe fired a corner kick directly into the Canadian net to score Ireland’s first-ever goal at a World Cup. At the stroke of halftime, Canada tied the match 1-1. Adriana Leon scored early in the second half to give Canada a 2-1 lead. Canada then dominated the second half, leaving the pitch with a victory. Next up, the team will play co-host Australia in Melbourne on Monday.

  • Final score: Canada 2 - Ireland 1
  • Where: Perth Rectangular Stadium, in Perth, Australia
  • Time: Wednesday, July 26 at 8:00 a.m. EST
  • Rankings: Canada (7), Ireland (22)
  • How to watch: TSN and CTV

Follow updates below.

10:24 a.m. EST

‘We know how to win’: Canada’s 2-1 victory over Ireland

There won’t be many style points awarded, but that hardly matters now. Most important of all, Canada found a way to win Wednesday.

“I think the first 20 minutes, the occasion got to them,” head coach Bev Priestman told TSN afterward. “But second half, that’s what I love about this team, they did whatever it took to win. We know how to win and we did it when it really mattered.”

With their backs against the wall after falling behind to a fourth-minute goal from Ireland captain Katie McCabe, the defending Olympic champions hung on through the opening 45 minutes. Ireland, enjoying itself in its first World Cup appearance, was happy to hit Canada on the counterattack in the driving rain, while Canada did its best to avoid digging itself into an even deeper hole.

The team got a lifeline on the stroke of halftime, when Julia Grosso’s cross from the left wing was turned in by Ireland’s Megan Connolly, allowing Priestman to reset things.

She certainly did that, introducing Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Shelina Zadorsky to the mix and turning the match on its head.

As the second half kicked off, Canada found itself on the front foot, playing with all the poise and purpose that were missing from the first half. After a couple of sighters on goal, Adriana Leon put Canada in front at the 53-minute mark, cashing in a pass from Schmidt, and Canada was off to the races. The only blemish was that Sinclair couldn’t convert a couple of easy chances – for her – to establish a new record as the first woman or man to score in six straight World Cups.

No matter. She will get another chance on Monday, when Canada takes on co-host Australia in Melbourne.

Whether Canada goes into that game as Group B leader or in second place will be determined by Thursday’s game between Australia and Nigeria, with the top two teams after three group-stage games advancing to the knockout rounds.

– Paul Attfield

  • Canada's Adriana Leon, center, celebrates after scoring her side's second goal at Women's World Cup against Ireland in Perth, Australia,Gary Day/The Associated Press

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10:10 a.m. EST

Canada beats Ireland 2-1

Referee Laura Fortunato blows the final whistle, and Canada can breathe again.

Adriana Leon’s early second-half goal – her first-ever World Cup strike – stands up as the winner as Bev Priestman’s team hangs on for a 2-1 win, just Canada’s second come-from-behind victory at a World Cup in 13 attempts.

An own goal from Ireland’s Megan Connolly tied things up for Canada going into halftime, having fallen behind after a Katie McCabe goal direct from a corner kick just four minutes in.

The win gives Canada four points through two games and leaves it atop Group B, at least until co-host Australia plays Nigeria on Thursday. Australia would leapfrog Canada with a win there, and the top two teams will advance to the knockout rounds after three group-stage matches. Ireland, meanwhile, is eliminated after just two games in its first World Cup appearance.

Canada now turns its attention to Australia, which it plays Monday in Melbourne.

– Paul Attfield

9:46 a.m. EST

Canada dominating Ireland in the second half

Midway through the second half, it’s hard to believe this is mostly the same Canada lineup that sputtered and stalled in the Perth rain during the first half.

As Ireland has shrunk from the contest, Canada has grown in strength and stature, beginning to play like the Olympic champion it is. The introduction of veterans Sophie Schmidt and Christine Sinclair – with their combined 546 appearances for the national team – has had the desired effect, and Canada has pushed on, even after taking the lead through Adriana Leon at the 53-minute mark.

Sinclair herself has had two good opportunities to score in her sixth straight World Cup, first miscuing a left-footed shot at 63 minutes and, four minutes later, failing to fully connect on a cross that goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was easily able to corral.

But Canada is now dominating the ball possession and, with six shots on target – five in the second half – a third goal looks likely.

– Paul Attfield

9:30 a.m. EST

Cloé Lacasse substituted for Adriana Leon

Five minutes after giving Canada the lead, Adriana Leon is taken off by head coach Bev Priestman, making way for Cloé Lacasse, who is coming on to give Canada a fresh set of legs for the final half-hour of the match.

Priestman’s changes are having the desired effect in this second half, with Canada generating double the amount of shots on target through the last 15 minutes than it did over the opening 45.

While Leon found the back of the net, fellow striker Jordyn Huitema forced Ireland goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan into a leaping save, shortly before Canada went in front, and it seems the introduction of the three veterans for the second half has calmed Canada down, allowing it to refocus on the job at hand.

– Paul Attfield

Open this photo in gallery:

Soccer Football - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group B - Canada v Republic of Ireland - Perth Rectangular Stadium, Perth, Australia - July 26, 2023 Canada's Adriana Leon celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Luisa GonzalezLUISA GONZALEZ/Reuters

9:25 a.m. EST

Canada’s Adriana Leon scores to give Canada 2-1 lead over Ireland

Adriana Leon scores to give Canada the lead.

Bev Priestman’s halftime changes have the desired effect, with substitute Sophie Schmidt making an immediate impact. She finds Leon in the 53rd minute, allowing the striker to get beyond the Irish defence and poke the ball past Courtney Brosnan for her 29th goal for Canada.

– Paul Attfield

9:20 a.m. EST

Bev Priestman changes lineup at halftime: Christine Sinclair in

The second half has kicked off against Ireland, and Canada has a new lineup as it looks to complete its comeback with a victory.

Having watched her team struggle to impose itself in the first half, Canada head coach Bev Priestman decided to roll the dice during the halftime break. Kadeisha Buchanan, who had been ill just before the game, Julia Grosso and Evelyne Viens have all been withdrawn, with veterans Shelina Zadorsky, Sophie Schmidt and Christine Sinclair coming on in their place.

Meanwhile, Ireland coach Vera Pauw has brought on 18-year-old Abbie Larkin in place of Lucy Quinn.

Canada needs its veterans to rise to the occasion in this second half, as the team desperately needs a win and the accompanying three points to carry into its third group game, against co-host Australia.

– Paul Attfield

9:00 a.m. EST

Canada-Ireland tied at halftime

It likely didn’t come as Bev Priestman envisioned it, but the Canadian women’s team head coach won’t care one jot after an Irish own goal deep into first-half injury time allowed her team to return to the dressing room the same way they exited it – with the score even and everything still to play for.

Priestman ringed the changes ahead of Canada’s second match at this World Cup, dropping captain Christine Sinclair for the first time in her World Cup career, replacing her with Jessie Fleming and picking Evelyne Viens to lead the attack.

None of those changes really had the desired effect, as Canada struggled to keep up with the World Cup newcomers from Ireland, registering just one shot on goal. Ireland scored its first-ever World Cup goal inside of four minutes, with captain Katie McCabe firing an Olimpico goal – direct from a corner kick – beyond the despairing dive of goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.

Much like the opening game against Nigeria, Canada struggled to create much going forward, the most clearcut chance falling to centre-back Vanessa Gilles, who got on the end of a flick-on from Kadeisha Buchanan at the midpoint of the half but couldn’t keep her shot under the crossbar.

As Canada pushed for the tying goal, Ireland increasingly found room to break on the counterattack, with Buchanan punished with a yellow card for pulling down Kyra Carusa when the Ireland forward threatened to break away on Canada’s goal.

The own goal from Ireland’s Megan Connolly – Canada’s first of this World Cup – gives Canada a chance to reset for the second half.

– Paul Attfield

Open this photo in gallery:

On the stroke of half-time, Canada finds the back of the net to even the score in their match against Ireland at 1-1.LUISA GONZALEZ/Reuters

8:50 a.m. EST

Own goal ties Ireland match 1-1

On the stroke of halftime, Canada finds the back of the net to even the score at 1-1. After a disappointing opening 45 minutes, a right-footed cross from Julia Grosso is flicked on by Irish defender Megan Connolly, just enough to send it past Ireland goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan.

– Paul Attfield

8:30 a.m. EST

Canada struggling against Ireland in the first half

Approaching the midway point of the first half, it’s safe to say the changes head coach Bev Priestman made to her starting lineup have not had the desired effect so far. In wet, slippery conditions in Perth, Canada has struggled to impose itself on this game against Ireland, finding itself down 1-0 and desperately needing a goal to get back into this match and kick-start its tournament.

Leaving 190-goal scorer Christine Sinclair out of the starting lineup was a bold move, but her understudies haven’t yet found their feet at this level, registering just one shot on target to three from Ireland.

Canada’s quest for goals isn’t a new problem, though, with the team scoring just six in its last eight games – and just one of those from open play.

And the omens aren’t good at the World Cup. Canada has lost 11 of 12 matches when it conceded first at the Women’s World Cup, the lone exception being in 2003, when it came from behind to beat Japan, with the winner being scored by – who else? – Sinclair.

– Paul Attfield

Open this photo in gallery:

Canada's coach Beverly Priestman (R) reacts as Canada's defender #08 Jayde Riviere (L) tackles Ireland's midfielder #11 Katie McCabe during the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup Group B football match between Canada and Ireland at Perth Rectangular Stadium in Perth on July 26, 2023. (Photo by Colin MURTY / AFP) (Photo by COLIN MURTY/AFP via Getty Images)COLIN MURTY/AFP/Getty Images

8:05 a.m. EST

Katie McCabe scores Ireland’s first-ever goal at a World Cup

It’s a nightmare start for Canada. Just four minutes in, Katie McCabe fires a corner kick directly into the Canadian net – an olimpico, as such goals are called – to score Ireland’s first-ever goal at a World Cup.

The shot from the Ireland captain curled into the back of the net over the outstretched fingers of Kailen Sheridan, who picked the ball out of the net for the first time in this World Cup.

– Paul Attfield

7:30 a.m. EST

Jessie Fleming in, Christine Sinclair out for Canada vs. Ireland match

Canada head coach Bev Priestman has made her first big call of this Women’s World Cup, dropping team captain and talisman Christine Sinclair from the lineup in what is looking like a must-win contest against Ireland on Wednesday. It is the first time Sinclair hasn’t started a match in a Women’s World Cup - this is her sixth - with Priestman calling it a “difficult decision.”

Taking the captain’s armband will be Jessie Fleming, fit again after missing the opening 0-0 draw against Nigeria due to injury. The back-to-back Canada Soccer player of the year is in good form, coming off a season in England where she helped lead Chelsea to a double of Women’s Super League and F.A. Cup.

Sinclair missed a penalty kick in the opener as she looked to add to her record 190 international goals, and while she will get further opportunities in the tournament, on Wednesday they will have to come off the bench.

Fleming will get the chance to orchestrate the Canadian attack against Ireland, something she did so well two years ago in Tokyo in leading her team to Olympic gold. She will be at the centre of an attack that includes Evelyne Viens, who retains her place after impressing off the bench in the opener and joins a frontline alongside Adriana Leon and Jordyn Huitema.

After missing some of training and a media availability on Tuesday, centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan will also start for Canada, a big boost for a team that employs a defence-first philosophy.

– Paul Attfield

7:10 a.m. EST

Canada faces Ireland in do-or-die match

With a rather deflating opening 90 minutes of the 2023 Women’s World Cup under their belts, the Canadian women’s national team members know the real work – and the accompanying jeopardy – begins Wednesday. Defeat against Ireland, the world’s 22nd-ranked team, would likely leave the defending Olympic champions facing the prospect of an early flight home from Australia. But in reality, the game in Perth is one that neither team can afford to lose.

While seventh-ranked Canada was held to a goalless draw against Nigeria in its opener, Ireland – in its World Cup debut – came up just short in a 1-0 loss to co-host Australia, which Canada faces in its final group-stage match on Monday. The top two teams in Group B advance to the knockout rounds.

The good news for Canada is that Jessie Fleming – the midfield dynamo who missed the draw with Nigeria because of an injury – is back in training. Head coach Bev Priestman expects the reigning Canadian player of the year and Chelsea star to be available for selection, while Ireland coach Vera Pauw insisted that she’ll play.

Fleming’s tournament track record certainly screams big-game player – she’s the only Canadian to score in the knockout rounds in Tokyo two years ago, finding the net in both the Olympic semi-final and final from the penalty spot.

Given that Canada has been held off the scoresheet in three of its five games in 2023, being outscored 7-3 along the way, any help in that department will be gratefully received. In the opener, Canada registered just three shots on target despite holding more than two-thirds of total ball possession.

However, key centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan appeared to be kept out of training on Tuesday, and failed to show for her scheduled media appearance, so Priestman may again have interesting lineup calls to make as Canada plays its second-ever game against Ireland. Five of the current squad played in their first encounter, with midfielder Sophie Schmidt scoring a late winner when the teams met in the Cyprus Cup nine years ago.

– Paul Attfield

7:00 a.m. EST

When is Canada’s second World Cup match and how do I watch it?

Canada’s second game of the Women’s World Cup is today (July 26) at 8 a.m. ET. The Canadian squad will be up against Ireland in Perth. Canada was unable to break the deadlock in its opener in Melbourne, settling for a 0-0 draw against Nigeria.

Canada will play its third game against Australia on Monday, July 31, at 6 a.m.

Canadian fans can watch on TSN, and some matches will be available on CTV. This includes all three of Canada’s group-stage matches. French-language coverage will be on RDS.

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