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Three Points All that Matters for Canada against China

There will be those calling for them to do more, but three points is all that Canada's first game in the World Cup should be measured by.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

If Gold can make a man go crazy, then Bronze can make a man forget. Just three years after Canada captured its first ever women's soccer medal in London it has been completely forgotten that they didn't win a game in the World Cup tournament that came just the year before.

The bronze medal performance has most looking past the group stage for Canada. However, when the team opens the tournament against China tomorrow, they will face a stern test as to how much of a difference four years have actually made.

This year there is no doubt that Canada will make it out of the group stage. On paper and in recent results they are the best team of a group that includes four of the top 17 countries in the world.

Getting off to a winner start, however, is crucial towards proving that sentiment. Winning the group would go a long way towards improving their confidence going into the one and done knockout stage.

China may be the 16th placed team in the world but they are far from a pushover. They have a strong history in the sport, having won seven straight Asian Cups to end the 20th century, they were also the runners up at the 1999 Women's World Cup.

As of late they haven't been nearly at the same level in the women's game. China didn't even qualify for the last World Cup or London Olympics, the first time they have missed out on either of these competitions.

They will be looking to use this game as a sign they have since turned things around. Outside of Canada, who automatically qualify as hosts, China was the first team to qualify for the tournament at the 2014 Asian Cup which also saw them force extra time against the powerhouse Japanese.

But it will certainly be a big ask for "the steel roses" to overcome the host nation. For one, they haven't really had much offense as of late. This year China has been shutout in half of their games.

The last time they played Canada was in January, and courtesy of two goals from Christine Sinclair they were beaten 2-1.

For Canada, China are actually a fairly advantageous first opponent. They will provide Canada with a stiff test but not one that is incredibly threatening as well. This is important as Canada adjust to playing on home soil.

While later games in the group stage can be judged on how Canada wins, this one is just about getting the three points. The team shouldn't try to prove anything, otherwise they might risk stumbling.

After years of preparation it is finally time for the Canadian Women's National team to show what they are made of, but that doesn't mean doing all of that showing in one game. Especially in short tournaments like this a win is a win.

There is no need to send any other message other than three points, and that will never change throughout this tournament.