CWNT vs. Costa Rica: The Midterm Exam

Halfway to a chance to play for these lovely things. Will Canada get a chance to play for some Olympic bling? The test begins...tonight. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

After sort-of blowing out an undermanned Haiti 6-0 and playing a controlled 2-0 win over Cuba, this is the test that Big Red is likely waiting for -- a match against the 41st ranked Costa Rica, who shares the top of Group A with them.

A win will clinch first place in the group, and a likely semi-final date with the Mexicans (the same team the Canadians defeated for the Pan Am gold a couple months back). Lose, and the road to London will be all the more complicated with a date against the Americans.

So what are we looking for?

- Will Canada have to try to walk around the bus again? Cuba was relatively successful in their attempts to stymie the potent Canadian offense. Costa Rica, according to coach John Herdman, is more organized than their previous opponents and will be a much bigger challenge.

- Set pieces, the weakest link. Herdman told CBC that set pieces are one of Canada's weak points. He promises that those issues are being addressed. The Canadians' size, according to the skipper, will serve as an advantage. We shall see on that one!

- Wherefore art thou, Vancouver? Since this is the last group stage game, and being Monday -- it would probably be easy to say that attendance will be low. But judging from some of the Voyageurs in the stands, it won't be a quiet crowd.

- Blowouts, will one happen at last? While the USA has been blowing out their opponents, Canada has so far scored 8 goals in a combined 2 games. In a regular world that wouldn't be bad -- but against weak opponents, should we run up the score (if it's possible)?

Tune in tonight at 8:30pm on Sportsnet (10:30 p.m E.D.T), and see the action unfold. Again for all you Easterners, take a mid-day nap and stock up on the energy drinks -- this one bears viewing.

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