Even the most optimistic Canadian women's national team supporters would be surprised at how well they have done in Rio. Coming in with a lot of fresh faces after bowing out in the quarterfinals at Canada 2015, this was season as a transitional tournament.
Now, that perspective has changed as Canada has once again made the medal round and take on Germany in one of the biggest matches in Canadian soccer history. The Canadians now have a chance to make the podium for the second straight tournament, and even improve on their magical run in London.
Here are three stories going into today's game:
The Only Undefeated Team
If Canada wants to win its first ever Olympic gold, they will have to do so with an undefeated record. Canada is the only remaining team at this Olympic tournament who have not lost yet, going 4-0 so far. It has nothing to do with their draw, either.
Canada has already beaten three of the World's top five teams, and has a chance to beat the World number two for the second time this tournament if they can overcome Germany once again. They have done so by staying strong defensively and taking advantages of their chances offensively.
Who Will Step up for Canada?
Somebody is going to have to be a hero for Canada today, just as Melissa Tancredi was during the group stage match against Germany.
At the last Olympics, it was evidently Christine Sinclair who scored a famous hattrick in the women's semi-final, only to see Canada lose 4-3 to the States in extra time. Sinclair, Tancredi and Beckie have all had incredible performances in this tournament. Canada might need all three to be on their game today if they want to beat Germany.
The difficult rematch
There is a reason Canada has only beaten Germany once in 17 meetings, the Germans are a darn good side. They will not be happy with what they have accomplished so far this tournament, and have a chance to reverse that today against the only team who has beaten them so far.
Germany didn't look very good when Canada last played them, but don't expect a similar dud performance today. This German team will be desperate for victory, especially after bowing out in this same round at the World Cup last year.
Canada: Labbé, Sinclair, Buchanan, Zadorsky, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Scott, Schmidt, Tancredi, Beckie, Fleming
Venue: Belo Horizonte
Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Stream: CBC Sports. CA