The next Christine Sinclair is watching somewhere in Canada; will the original show her the way? (CREDIT: Stanley Chou, Getty Images)
For Canada, today's mission is simple -- win. For the sake of the past, present and the future.
Forget what is past, even if it hurts. But a bigger national tragedy is for someone else to take advantage of our misfortunes to win a medal for their country, and that country today is France; one of their players have already said that Canadians won't be able to keep up with them after the match. What better time to prove Ms Le Sommer wrong, than today?
Canada has come farther than it's ever had in Olympic women's soccer; on its second attempt, it's playing for bronze. Not gold -- there will be a day when we will -- and not since the 2003 World Cup have they come so far. Compared to what happened in Germany just a year before, it's pretty much a miraculous turnaround, given how much time John Herdman has had to remould Carolina Morace's squad into the unit we will see before us.
Granted it's not much different; but there is a belief that's there, a swagger, even -- that we've never seen before. The disaster of a year ago has pretty much been wiped away, and a glorious future awaits: a future that will include hosting the World Cup in 3 years' time. A few pieces of this squad will likely be there, and I think it's safe to say that a bronze medal at the Olympics is the perfect springboard to better things come 2015.
The lineup today is no different from what we saw against the USA: maybe a few emotional hurts, but no major injuries were suffered during that match. The French will likely remain unchanged from their lineup against Japan, with their squad staked with names like Sonia Bompastor, Elodie Thomsis the aforementioned Le Sommer, just to name a few. This will mean Canada will have to keep their game up, period.
The key to the game today for Canada, is firepower: we must show the French that we have not been defeated. The Tancredi-Sinclair combination will need to be on song, while others like Lauren Sesselmann, Rhian Wilkinson and Diana Matheson must continue their stellar work that they've shown so far in this tournament. We must not be afraid to fire at the French, and destroy them.
Whatever the result of today's game, it will have an impact on the women's game in our country. Christine Sinclair's heroics have made her an almost household name, joining the likes of Nash, Gretzky and even LeMay Doan -- and who knows? A victory today will inspire another generation, or maybe even the next Sinclair, who may be watching early in the morning in her home somewhere in Canada.
Heck, it might even inspire the men's team in their quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which is where the next Olympics will be, a year after the World Cup at home. Go figure, eh? But that's looking into the future; and here is now -- and to paraphrase the Beatles, "All you need is a win."
Let's do it, Canada. 34 million strong. We're with you, ladies. Let's do it, to it.