As the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup is just around the corner, it's time for VAVEL USA to look at the field of 24 teams with team previews. This writer takes a look at the hosts of the tournament, Canada:
Team Canada ranks eighth in the FIFA World Rankings, but they come into the World Cup after a last place finish in Group A in the 2011 tournament. Yet, there seems to be an exciting buzz surrounding this team, as they enter the competition with rather high expectations.
Team Canada are led by captain Christine Sinclair, who will be playing in her fourth World Cup and is Canada's leader in career caps and their top goal scorer. Most of Canada's players are on teams in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), and many play together on the same teams. Canada has chemistry, as their roster is familiar with each other and quite experienced. Fifteen of the 23 players on Canada's squad have at least 67 career international caps, and only five women on the squad are younger than 26 years old.
Alongside the striker Sinclair, the Canucks' key players include midfielder Sophie Schmidt, goalkeeper Erin McLeod, and defender Rhian Wilkinson, who plays alongside Sinclair with the NWSL's Portland Thorns. However, in order to go far in this tournament every player on the roster must pitch in.
The buzz surrounding Team Canada really started back in 2012, after a heartbreaking loss to the United States in the Olympic semifinals. Even so, the Canadians would go on to win the bronze medal in London, which helped generate a stronger following of the team.
With the World Cup happening in Canada, the women's team will have home field advantage wherever they go, and that's enormous. The Canadians don't quite have the ability to beat the best teams in the world with talent alone, so they will have to depend on rowdy home crowds while truly playing as a team in order to go far in the tournament. Recently, Sinclair said that: “there’s something about our national anthem that our team rallies around. That’s one moment that I’m so looking forward to." Canada will surely try to rally around playing the World Cup at home, and it could become a significant advantage for them.
It should be an interesting ride for Team Canada, but with great expectations, Canadian fans should come out to the Canucks' matches in a rather noisy fashion. It is going to be enjoyable to see how Canada approaches their games with powerhouses like the United States, Brazil, Germany, Japan, and France standing in their way.