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Every time a version of Team Canada takes the ice, this country seems to rally around it. Whether it’s the World Juniors, World Championships or the Olympics, winning hockey gold is celebrated and viewed as a triumph for the entire nation. Winning the Women’s World Cup – on home soil, no less – should be viewed the same way and the Team Canada readying to take the pitch should be supported and covered the same way their hockey contemporaries are over the next month.
Currently No. 8 in the FIFA Women’s Rankings, Canada shares Group A with the Netherlands, China and New Zealand, countries ranked No. 12, 16 and 17 respectively, which gives them a tremendous shot at advancing to the Knockout Stage.
The Olympic bronze medalists in 2012, Team Canada is looking to rebound from an horrific 2011 World Cup where they finished dead last in the 16-team field, a result that is now seen as a catalyst for the turnaround that has them entering this tournament as potential dark horses to win the whole thing.
This squad captured the hearts of the nation three years ago with its unexpected surge to the podium in London and now that they’re chasing World Cup glory on home soil, they’ll hopefully do the same again here.
Last year, the Men’s World Cup was covered with depth and zeal in this country, even though the Canadian side wasn’t amongst the countries participating. Soccer is huge in Canada – fourth in terms of participation in 2010 behind golf, hockey and swimming according to a Stats Canada – and the commitment to covering this event should change because the gender of the participants has, especially given that Team Canada are legitimate threats.
While the opening two weeks are likely to take a bit of a back seat to the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals, recapping what has happened at the Women’s World Cup should be no worse than third in the nightly sports rundown from Saturday when the tournament begins until the competition concludes on Sunday, July 5 at BC Place in Vancouver, regardless of how Team Canada does or who is in the finals.
This is the type of global event that trumps how the Blue Jays are playing, offseason movement in the NFL or CFL training camp coverage; it’s an international competition of the highest order and sports networks and websites (including this one) need to treat it as such.
To that end, over the next month, we’ll bring you World Cup Wednesdays – a look at the results, highlights and developing stories from the Women’s World Cup, beginning next week, as well as a wrap up of the tournament once it concludes.
Team Canada begins their quest for the 2015 Women’s World Cup on Saturday when they take on China. The game can be seen live on TSN at 6pm ET/3pm PT with a pre-game show beginning an hour earlier.