Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's an Olympic year. Time to start payin' attention, eh?

As The Star’s Doug Smith details here, women’s sports, especially women’s team sports, tend to get ignored in Canada. That’s a shame, since Canadian women’s team sports tend to do much better internationally than do the boys.

A chance to give some attention to the highest ranked (non-hockey) Canadian team in the world —- the women’s soccer team -- comes this Thursday when the No. 9 ranked Canucks take on world No. 4 Brazil at Toronto’s BMO Field.

A lot of tickets have been distributed to T.O. youth soccer programs, but it’s likely that good value will be found in the “ticket speculating” market on game day.

The Canadian women have had some unexpected good results in the lead up to the Olympic tournament, finishing second in two warm-up events. Unexpected, because they were disappointing at the 2007 World Cup.

Canada plays a direct style of soccer that can be frustrating to watch. Many in the soccer community feel that the women are being held back by the style and are looking forward to a change of direction when head coach Even Pellerud steps down following the Olympics. But, that’s a topic for another day. And, it’s no reason not to support these young women as they bust their butt off to represent this country.

Canada has a tough draw at the Olympic tournament. They are in with the host Chinese (world No. 14) and 2003 World Cup runner-up Sweden (No. 3). Argentina (No. 27), who is the expected fourth place finisher, rounds out the group. The Canucks open things up two days before the actual Games start, on Aug. 6, when they play Argentina.

Since the best two third place finishers make the quarterfinals (along with the top two finishers in each group) who Canada would play in a potential quarter is hard to predict. However, if you look at the most likely outcomes (based on rankings), Canada would finish second and play the No. 2 ranked team in group B.

That would be Brazil. All the more reason to get off the couch Thursday and get down to BMO.

Related: For the best coverage of the Canadian women's team, check out the fan run Go Big Red. It's the Voyageurs on estrogen.

1 comment:

Rob Pettapiece said...

Hidden in Smith's article: to this day, Sinclair wears #12 because of Roberto Alomar. Soccer skill and lifelong appreciation of Hall of Fame second basemen? There's your role model.

There is a joke to be made at Alexis* Rios' expense, related to his wearing of #15 and Kara Lang's superior accomplishments, but it isn't coming to mind.

* He can go back to "Alex" once he starts outhitting the backup catcher.