Canada's tour of Austria's more lightly-populated towns concludes in Bad Waltersdorf (population around 2,000, says Wikipedia) with a friendly against Uzbekistan.
After the relatively modest challenge posed by UEFA makeweights Azerbaijan, Canada will now face one of the Asian Football Confederation's rising powers. At least, the Uzbeks would like to claim that status by converting a string of promising performances in Asian Cup (fourth in 2011; quarterfinalists in 2004, 2007, and 2015) into qualification for a World Cup.
To that end, the Uzbeks breezed through the most recent stage of AFC World Cup qualifying. They have won their last eight internationals, and are now preparing for a final round World Cup qualifying group that will pit them against China, Iran, Qatar, South Korea, and Syria.
Canada has similar priorities, seeking to use these June friendlies to refine and strengthen in advance of September's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and El Salvador. But the Canadians have opted to prepare for those games by calling together a near full-strength squad, while Uzbekistan head coach Samvel Babayan decided to allow several senior players to rest, taking the opportunity to look at some fresher faces from his player pool.
Uzbekistan's plans for these June friendlies have been disrupted by Benin, whose ongoing administrative problems precipitated events which caused Equatorial Guinea to have to cancel a scheduled game with the Uzbeks. That leaves this match against Canada as Babayan's one certain opportunity (the Equatorial Guinea game might be rescheduled) to test whatever it is he had in mind when he called this squad together. A closer look at the 2015 Asian Young Footballer of the Year, Dostonbek Khamdamov, is presumably high on the agenda.
Canada head coach Benito Floro has no such problems. Injuries deprived him of the services of Will Johnson and Milan Borjan for last week's match against Azerbaijan, but injuries can strike at any time: this camp has turned into a useful chance to evaluate options if key players are unavailable. The lessons gleaned about squad depth and positional flexibility in last week's 1-1 draw can now be applied to a more highly rated opponent - and whatever is learned from this game will be carried forward to September's big game in Honduras.