Raw will to win is rarely pretty and it is rarely convincing. What it lacks in those areas, however, it gains in the amount of inspiration it can provide.
It may be an old sports cliché, but yesterday Canada just wanted to win more than the Swiss did. That wasn't the entire story, but it was the underlying narrative to a 1-0 victory that has put the host nation in the quarterfinals.
Josée Belanger's goal was the difference maker, and she was integral to a change in tactics that helped propel Canada to victory. Having her move up the field again from fullback to winger brought creativity and talent to the Canadian attack that has been missing all tournament.
The goal came off of one of the best moves Canada has been able to orchestrate in the tournament. Rhian Wilkinson's brilliant ball found Christine Sinclair who calmly touched it to Belanger for a classy finish.
This kind of play still wasn't as common as Canada surely would like it to be, but it was more frequent than it has been in any other game so far in the tournament. For once they didn't look completely lost in the final third.
It's in Canada's own third where they have really impressed however, only conceding one goal so far in the entire tournament. Again today they were well organized and difficult to break down, frustrating the Swiss at every turn.
The praises for Kadeisha Buchanan and Allysha Chapman have already been sung aplenty, but they haven't been yet for Wilkinson. The veteran defender was solid today, playing a smart game and adding better service off of the wings.
Erin McLeod definitely deserves a large degree of praise as well as she has been world class so far this tournament. Against the Swiss she once again made a couple of crucial saves.
One concern, however, remains the player who plays alongside Buchanan in the middle. Lauren Sesselmann again proved to be problematic in the middle for Canada and would have been exploited by a better team. Carmelina Moscato wasn't far better against the Dutch, but should play going forward.
While her health was called into question before the match, Sophie Schmidt had her best game of the tournament and seems to be turning things around after a slow start. Alongside her Ashley Lawrence continues to thrive for the Canadians.
When she was brought on late in the match Jonelle Filigno was also a spark plug for the Canadian offense. Herdman should strongly consider starting her in a similar role up top next match.
Another important spark plug for Canada was the electric atmosphere inside BC Place, where the Canadian national team record set earlier in the tournament in Edmonton was broken. 53,855 people were in the stadium and they were loud and proud as they guided Canada to victory.
A repeat of the team's performance today likely won't be enough to beat either Norway or England in the quarterfinals, but Canada did hint at another gear they have today. It's coming late in the tournament, but they can peak now all previous transgressions will be forgotten.
If nothing else, Canada proved today that they will be a very difficult team to beat on home soil, even if they still haven't looked like world beaters themselves.