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Canadian keeper Erin McLeod (18) hopes to celebrate Thursday with Randee Hermus (11) and Sophie Schmidt (19). ((Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images))

Canada's must-win game against Australia at the FIFA Women's World Cup in China was postponed on Wednesday.

FIFA, world soccer's governing body, made the decision less than two hours before the Group C contest was to begin at 4:45 a.m. ET in Chengdu.

FIFA officials said the game will be played Thursday (CBC, 4:45 a.m. ET). Wednesday's Group D contest between China and New Zealand in Tianjin has also been rescheduled for Thursday.

Team Canada's captain Christine Sinclairsaidthe team found out about the postponement when they were getting on the hotel elevator to catch their busto the stadium.

"We were obviously shocked," the star striker told CBC Sports'Scott Russell in a phone interview from Chengdu.

"When you're heading to the stadium for a must-win game in a World Cup [and it gets cancelled] …but it's the right thing to do, it's the fair thing to do. We're just going to be ready tomorrow."

On Tuesday, FIFA decided to move a match scheduled for Wednesday in Shanghai — Norway versus Ghana in Group C — to the neighbouring city of Hangzhou. The game will be played on Thursday, as will a Group D match between Brazil and Denmark.

As Typhoon Wipha approached China's east coast Tuesday, Canada and Australia filed protests asking the game to be pushed back a day. The storm slammed into the coast and was downgraded to a tropical storm early Wednesday.

"The reason for this short-notice change is that initial typhoon warnings for Thursday are no longer founded and it is now deemed safe to play," FIFA said in a statement.

"Therefore, there is no longer a reason to deviate from the regulatory principle of playing the last group matches simultaneously and FIFA deems it appropriate to move the games in question until [Thursday] in the interest of treating all teams the same despite the short notice."

Australia and Norway are tied for first place in Group C with four points apiece. Canada is in third with three points and winless Ghana is fourth.

Canada, ranked No. 9 in the world, must defeat No. 15 Australia in order to advance to the quarter-finals. Australia needs only a draw to move on.

Canadian team manager Les Meszaros told CBC Sports reporter Erin Paul in China that FIFA made the right move to postpone the game, but he felt the decision should have been made Tuesday.

Paul said that Canada was prepared to play Wednesday if FIFA did not postpone the game.

"Absolutely, they were so ready. They are so excited about this game. They know it's a must-win game, but they like that pressure and that they perform even better with it," Paul said.