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Canada Can Re-Write Their Tournament Story Against Swiss

The host nation hasn't written a very compelling story so far at Canada 2015, but that could all change today against Switzerland as they are given a blank page.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

There have been a lot of feel-good stories at Canada 2015. Colombia beating France, a number of teams impressing in their first ever tournament and the traction it has carried both on TV and in the stadiums are just a few.

However, as the tournament transitions to the knockout stages the host nation has yet to be the author of any of these stories. Even their 1-0 victory against China to open the tournament was full of plot holes and undeveloped characters.

Today against Switzerland the Canadians will get a chance to put pen to paper once again. What they write will go a long way towards how the team is viewed in the tournament's lore.

The truth is the Swiss are a tricky opponent for Canada, but going into the tournament this was a round of 16 draw of which most would have approved. In their first ever tournament, the Swiss have struggled slightly and looked fairly flat in their final group game against Cameroon.

If Canada want to leave a legacy in this tournament that they are in fact still a top side in the women's game this is a must win. It's also a perfect opportunity to get some of the hype back that they have lost since kicking off the competition.

The Swiss aren't a dangerous team in general, but they do have dangerous weapons. Strikers Ramona Bachmann and Lara Dickenmann both have the ability to be lethal to Canada's World Cup chances as it may only take one goal to sink the Canadians.

While the Swiss have looked very beatable in this tournament, their weaknesses aren't exactly Canada's strengths. Pace was a major reason that Cameroon was able to beat Switzerland, something Canada doesn't have a lot of especially with an ageing forward line.

Wide play was also crucial to Cameroon's win, and this is something else that doesn't play out in Canada's favour. Josée Bélanger may be relied on more than ever in this one as the team's only good offensive wide player so far. Alysha Chapman is too defensive, while Rhian Wilkinson is slowing down.

In terms of overall quality, though, Canada are a far better team that Switzerland, they just haven't shown that talent in this tournament yet.

The team has gotten to this point on the backs of their youth, as Kadeisha Buchanan has done the majority of the heavy lifting. It's time now for the faces of this team: Sophie Schmidt and Christine Sinclair, to start pulling their weight.

If they can then there is little to worry about tomorrow for this Canadian team, they will be off to the quarter-finals where a still fairly favourable matchup against either England or Norway awaits. If they can't then this match is going to be too close for comfort.

Likely, it will be a combination of the two and Canada will be able to get a narrow victory in a tense game that once again isn't fully convincing but is enough to get the team a berth in the quarters.

Should Canada lose today, it will be because of a team that wears red and white. Switzerland won't be to blame, however, it will be the underperformance of the Canadians that eliminated themselves.