- Canada star Janine Beckie chats exclusively with FIFA.com
- Discusses her debut season in England with Manchester City
- Tells us why Canada can win their first Women’s World Cup at France 2019
As Canada prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, the team boasts a distinctive European flavour. With players at the likes of Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, the Canadians are represented at some of the continent's biggest clubs.
Among them is Janine Beckie. The 24-year-old forward, on the verge of 50 caps and her first Women’s World Cup appearance, made the move from USA’s Sky Blue FC to Manchester City in August 2018 and has been relishing her debut season in England.
"It’s a whole other world over here compared to the States and I’m really enjoying it so far," Beckie told FIFA.com. "It’s a completely different experience football-wise and I wanted to be in an environment that would challenge me every day ahead of the World Cup.
"I know that’s the step some of the other girls in the team have taken as well. It was huge for Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence to come straight out of college and join Lyon and PSG but it’s benefited them substantially. For those who have made the move to Europe, it’s been incredibly beneficial for our game."
If the lure of joining one of Europe’s biggest clubs wasn’t enough for Beckie, Manchester City also received a personal recommendation from one of the game’s titans. Carli Lloyd, a former team-mate of Beckie’s at Houston Dash and Sky Blue, enjoyed a loan spell at City in 2017 and was only too happy to provide an insight into the English giants prior to Beckie’s move.
"Carli had nothing but good things to say about Man City," Beckie said. "Her stint was short but she loved the team, the style of play and Manchester’s football culture. She was very happy for me to make that move and we still keep in touch now."
Did you know?
Beckie found the net just 20 seconds after kick-off at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016
As Beckie plays her part in helping City wrestle back the FA Women's Super League title, she has enjoyed the learning curve of sampling a different style of football.
"I think apart from the culture, the physical and tactical elements of the game are the biggest differences," she said. "The game in the States is much more transitional and athletic and not based as much on possession (compared to Europe).
"What I’ve appreciated playing in England is that even the lower-level teams in our league try to play the game."
Beckie’s focus for now is naturally on City, but attention will soon turn to France 2019. Though Canada have collected two Olympic bronze medals in the last two Games, with Beckie starring at Rio 2016, netting three goals, they have yet to register a podium finish at the Women’s World Cup.
Kenneth Heiner-Moller’s charges, however, have big plans for the coming summer.
"Our ambition is to win it and we’re going there with the intention of being No1," asserted Beckie. "We have the ability, the structure, the players, the staff – everything you need. The two Olympic bronze medals were monumental for us and it’s rallied Canadian fans more than ever.
"We do believe we’ll be the most prepared team at the World Cup and if you saw what our staff do day in, day out, you would have that belief too. We’re excited about France and we want to come home as No1."
Beckie on Canada’s France 2019 group:
- Cameroon: "A bit of a wildcard and it will be an interesting game for us"
- New Zealand: "A team that sits right in the middle and has good players. They’ll definitely pose us issues"
- Netherlands: "Our toughest opponent. They won the Euro and have so many great players – from Lieke Martens to Shanice van de Sanden"
As Canada aim to make history at France 2019, they will no doubt look towards double-centurions Diana Matheson and Christine Sinclair for wisdom, experience and know-how.
The pair boast a staggering 476 caps between them, while Sinclair stands just six goals away from equalling Abby Wambach’s record of 184 international goals.
"Diana has had some injuries the last couple of years which has kept her in and out of camps but she’s a rock on our team and no-one works harder," said Beckie. "When there’s someone that has over 200 caps and you haven’t played at a World Cup, you lean on those people.
"And with Christine, there are no words to describe the value she brings - our captain and going to no doubt break the world scoring record. She wants to finish her career at No1 and she’s not seen Canada as a real threat to achieve that until now.
"We want to give her that as a thank you for everything she has done for her country."