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Time for Canada to Move on Against the Dutch

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They haven't impressed at this tournament so far, but Canada have done enough to put themselves on the verge of the knockout stages at Canada 2015.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

After the rain clears the sun is supposed to shine brightest, but after a rain delay in Edmonton on Thursday things went a bit dark for the Canadian women's soccer team.

Culminating in a frustrating 0-0 draw with New Zealand, Canada only added to fears that they won't be able to live up to London 2012. While they haven't lost yet at Canada 2015 they have done little to impress either.

After two games, however, here are the facts: no damage has been done yet. Canada's dream of lifting the World Cup trophy on home soil is still alive, and closer than ever before.

Today against the Netherlands the Canadian team needs only a win or a draw to guarantee a place in the knockout stages. A win would mean that they top their group and go into the next round as a top seed.

Like Canada, and everyone else in the tournament's Group A, the Netherlands have been goal-challenged so far, scoring only one and conceding another.

For a team who many considered to be a possible darkhorse going into the competition the Netherlands have yet to really live up to that consideration.

The world number 12 team are in their first World Cup tournament but are coming off  back to back strong performances at the European Championship, and a World Cup qualifying campaign that saw them beat Norway, Scotland and Belgium before overcoming Italy in the playoff final.

A big part of those results had to do with the birth of a star in Vivianne Miedema, the 18-year-old Bayern Munich star who is widely considered "the next one" in the women's game.

Even if Miedema hasn't exactly taken the world by storm in Canada she will still be the most dangerous player on the Dutch team.

This match will be intriguing, as it is both a proving ground and a must win game on both sides of the field for two teams who haven't had a great start to the competition.

For the Dutch, as aforementioned, this game will be about sending a message that this tournament will in fact be their step into the spotlight of the women's game.

There is perhaps no better opponent for them to do this against than the Canadians, the team with potentially the most media coverage in the competition.

For the Canadians, it is about moving on both in the literal and figurative sense. The team's first two games of the competition were underwhelming, but if they can win tonight those games will quickly be forgotten.

It's not like Canada have been outright dreadful so far this tournament, mostly they have just been frustrating. They let both China and New Zealand off the hook far more than either of those countries deserved credit to wriggle away.

In both games the Canadian team has at least given themselves the opportunity to dictate the game even if numerous errors have meant they have dictated very little so far.

But it's not like that many other teams in this tournament have impressed out of the gate so far at Canada 2015. Only Japan and Brazil have more points than Canada, and both have had their fair share of underwhelming moments.

The Swedes and the Americans drew 0-0, and USA has needed brilliant goaltending from Hope Solo to stay undefeated so far. The Germans were stunned by a late equalizer against Norway, while the team many picked to win Canada 2015, France, lost to Colombia in the surprise of the tournament.

If nothing else this year's tournament has proven that the giants can be taken down, something that works in Canada's favour if they can reach the knockout stages today. While the Canadian team hasn't looked like world beaters yet, one doesn't always have to look the part to surprise the world.